Transition from poet to artist? Sure, there’s no leap there. Many would claim that their favorite song lyrics constitute “poetry” and you can see how poems could eventually become lyrical matter. For poet/songwriter Gena Perala, they certainly seem to be one and the same. The published poet has released her new album, Exactly Nowhere, 15-tracks of cathartic lyrical matter and demure backing musicality, all wrapped up in an emotive package.
“Living Proof” opens the album in Doo Wop fashion with tinkling piano notes, slight backing percussion and Perala’s stout vocal delivery. Backing keys and vocals bolster the sound but the musicality stays in the background allowing the star of the outfit to shine in the lyrics. The down tempo “Fine” opens with picked acoustic and weepy keys in the background before again, the vocal delivery stands at the foreground. The near spoken word lyrics tell the story of relationship analysis, which I can’t help but think is autobiographical. The contemplation continues through the body of the track as the “narrator” assures herself that “everything’s fine.” The mood changes with the quirky “Hip Hop and Cartoons.” Perala claims she sees her generation as “able to learn more from Hip Hop and cartoons than from any church or religion.” Again, the musicality is slight propelling the vocal delivery to the foreground. The lyrical matter is slightly jarring on this one but it speaks to self-awareness and validation. “La Fin” has an ethnic folk feel in the instrumentation of strings and plucked acoustic and alternating French and English in the lyrical matter. “Fat World” implements a Pop Punk feel with distorted electric guitar, staccato backing percussion and a social awareness in the message of the lyrical matter, speaking to the unrealistic expectations on women in today’s culture. The universal truths continue on “Life is Hard.” This track is more anecdotal lyrical matter that speaks beyond the containment of the track with simple piano melody bolstered by more weepy strings just underneath the surface of the track.
Perala certainly has the songwriting part down. Add her approachable vocal delivery and what you have is more than poet or artist or combination of the two. The songs aren’t simply written for the sake of writing songs but belie the fact that Perala is a socially aware dynamo of a woman. She isn’t afraid to take on taboo topics such as self-awareness, a woman’s self image and healthy and tumultuous relationships alike. If thought-provoking and emotive matter is your bag, go out and find that place called Exactly Nowhere.
by Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org
I give this 3.5/5 Skopes!