Canadian artist Michelle Creber possesses the melodic finesse of mainstream artists, but also a knack for finding delicate ways to invigorate her sound to break the algorithmic pattern. Her latest record, On Display,analyzes universal themes of love, growth, and youth, but also addresses heavy themes of mental health. With its explosive opener, “Kings & Queens,” Michelle introduces us to her fiery boldness that embraces self-love. “We deserve to have the throne” she chants. The following track, “On Display,” reveals a more heartfelt side of Michelle where uses cinematic mid-tempo to stretch her vocal muscles.
The most youthful moment of the record is “It’s Gonna Turn Around” where the gal sounds like the big sister reassuring her younger sibling that everything will get better. In “Haunted House,” the poptress lets her multi-layered vocals soar over the eerie soundscape, giving us a mixture of punchy and expansive harmonies. In “Colorblind,” she champions for inner beauty while showering us with riffs that have rock edge to it.
Michelle isn’t solo all the time throughout On Display. In “Superhero,” Michelle teams up with Black Gryph0n where she pulls our nostalgia strings with references to our childhood heroes such as Avengers and Crusaders. It’s a coming-of-age moment where both artists mourn for the loss of their childhood heroes and start facing a world filled with blurred moralities. We find Michelle in the company of another artist, Natalie Sharp, in “One for All” where both gals advocate for unity.
“Princess” is probably the most pre-2010-Taylor-Swift moment of the record where even Michelle’s voice resemble TS. Depending on your taste, it’s a love/hate moment with references to fairytale. But Michelle quickly leaves that TS realm with “Half is Full” where she taps into mental health. “Half is Full” preaches the power of changing one’s perception to break away from a negative headspace. “Redefine the meaning of sadness / Cut and paste the pain into one big atlas” she chants.
In “Still Young,” she breaks down the aging angst that comes with entering. By using a bubbly soundscape, she brings playfulness to the track that reminds her listeners of the absurd expectations of time and adulting. And she continues to preserve this youthful spark in “Unexpected” where she fully indulges in professing her love.
As one of the fastest rising artists in pop, Michelle knows the dangers of fame and perfection when it comes to music industry. “Lottery” is a dancefloor-ready ballad that is anchored by a galloping melody where the gal warns, Gamble the praise, carvin’ your name over the top slots / Second is low, second is so far from number one / But when the lottery isn’t dreamy like it seems / Don’t come runnin’ to me.” Michelle ends her record with the tongue-in-cheek track “Another Song” where the gal takes us through her creativity block. By ending On Display with this track, the gal concludes this journey with an optimistic note to see the bright side of everything.
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