Shauna Burns debuted in 2005 with the full-length effort Every Thought and has, from there, built herself a sturdy career as a purveyor of some unique hybrid between piano pop and folk music. Her latest music, the single “Hazel”, has echoes of her longtime sound resounding through every bar, but also hints that Burns isn’t content resting on her laurels and insists on her evolving artistry. It also provides a solid vehicle for Burns to dazzle us with a song focusing more on her often stunning vocals instead of her musicianship alone. The production assists in that direction by framing her singing and other instruments with clarity, though the song has a couple of small missteps in that area.
The song has great focus. There’s none of the self-indulgence in Burns’ music often found with similar performers. In three and a half minutes, the songwriting spins a delicate musical web that has the perfect amount of energy. Everything is slowly unwinding, dream-like, and the emotion she seems to be reaching for in the lyrics matches up with the musical mood. There’s a real sense of experience recalled in tranquility that’s enormously appealing.
The lyrical content is half-formed, stream of consciousness that invokes memory. Things come to the listener in fragments and this is an effective way of conveying its internal dialogue. Listening to this song can remind one of something intensely personal emerging from them as its ordered internally – in half understood fragments and phrases that, nonetheless, conjure up a discernible mood.
There’s nothing in this track that feels rushed or hurried. Instead, Burns shows supreme patience and control as she unveils the song bar by bar, never allowing urgency to overshadow an obvious attempt to real get to the heart of her own experience. The song’s pensive attributes help make it all the more unforgettable. “Hazel” is a great song and the glaring weaknesses so often undercutting similar tracks are not here. There’s no slackness, no meandering, and nothing is ever so slick that you’re left wondering about the performer’s sincerity. Instead, many will finish listening to this track convinced we haven’t heard the best yet from Shauna Burns.