“Honeymoon,” the title track to Brynn Andre’s album, is applied differently from the way we normally use the popular term. In the marital tradition, a ‘honeymoon’ is a sort of one-time event, celebrated after the wedding ceremony and the start of a marriage. It’s that space where a couple can finally get away from all the ceremonial well-wishers and finally be together – just the two of them. In Andre’s song, however, her love is described as her honeymoon, a recurring gift or holiday. Like the way we celebrate Christmas annually. It’s one of the happiest songs on the album, even though Andre is not always the most joyous sounding individual. Even the up songs on her album carry with them at least a small hint of sadness because that’s just the way her voice consistently sounds. With that said, though, this release is a smart collection of pop songs.

She follows “Honeymoon” with one titled “Celebrity,” which uses celebrity culture to help describe her relationship. This track applies plenty of crisp percussion and subtle keyboards to create its sonic feel. The sounds driving “Good Time” are distinctly ‘80s pop elements. Lyrically, Andre comes face to face with aging and growing up. “Age is just a number,” she sings, but suggests how saying such is easier said than actually done.

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One track simply titled “Sad,” is also a song we may have predicted would come along. The sad sound of Andre’s voice is this time directly sung about this time. It’s as though she’s also defiantly sad. She’s going to be sad for a spell, she suggests, and won’t be talked out of it. “I’m fuckin’ sad,” she blurts out, which is a way of phrasing, so we know she truly means it. She also sings about being on vacation in a hotel hell. It’s most certainly a downer. Then again, it was likely something Andre also just needed to get out of her system. “Canyon Heart” is another slow, sad one. Sad is something Andre does especially well.

Speaking of sadness, Andre covers “Strawberry Wine,” which was a hit for country singer Deana Carter. It’s a song about coming of age. Its original version is also sweet – much like the sugary beverage in the title. Andre’s take on it, though, is nearly unrecognizable. In contrast, her version is a slow piano ballad. It’s sung, not as a fond remembrance, but done so more out of regret. As if she’d rather forget this transition from girlhood to womanhood. Fans of the original version may not appreciate Andre’s new interpretation – it’s just that different. However, Adre deserves kudos for having the guts to so completely transform a familiar hit song. If you didn’t already know this song’s lyrics, you may not have even pegged it as a cover. It is striking, to say the least.

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Needless to say, Honeymoon is oftentimes no happy honeymoon. Instead, it’s the sound of a deep-thinking singer/songwriter working out some of her personal issues in song. On “Canyon Heart,” she asks, “Can I tell you a secret?” She then says, “Come real close.” This album is just that sort of project. Brynn Andre wants listeners to come close enough to hear her heart. It’s worth the effort because this is one strong and heartfelt effort.

-Dan MacIntosh