Namely, pop music that doesn’t suck.
Nikki Edgar, née Nikki Leoni who released a few contemporary Christian albums back in the day, has just put out her first solo album in quite some time and first under her married name. Heartache Easy is … well, it’s so good it’s almost ridiculous.
Presently, pop music is marked by two characteristics. One, it uniformly dominates airplay, sales, and concert draws. Two, it’s uniform Cheez Whiz cookie cutter recipe drek, soulless machine-made aural junk food with layers of autotuned pseudo-singing atop even more layers of virtual instruments glued to drum machine blips. No heart. No depth. No human interaction. Rather like political Twitter. But I digress.
Into this teenage wasteland comes Edgar with seven songs worth of — brace yourself — real, live music. Let’s start with her voice. Edgar sings with synchronized heart and skill, serious joy that’s both confident and confessional. She grabs you by the heartstrings and holds on tight without ever squeezing the life out of you via excessive vocal gymnastics. Once heard, for all the right reasons Edgar’s singing is never forgotten.
Next up, the songs. Memorable and comfortable without being regurgitated rehashes of everything else presently out there, they are presented with understated human musical interaction. No drum machines. No synthesizer loops. Instead, they are appropriately sparse without affected ‘oh look how cool and stripped down we are’ pretentious annoyance. They provide the perfect backdrop for Edgar’s powerhouse singing.
Lyrically the album focuses on relationships, be it the overcoming spunk of “I’ve Learned” or the heart-rendering asunder power of the title track. Edgar and company know how to be real without falling into the bottomless pit of excessive emotion.
Heartache Easy is superb. It’s sublime. It’s every other superlative you can throw its way. Yes, it is really that good. If you’ve written off the radio and wearily resigned yourself to there being little if any new music worthy of so much as a passing listen, let alone purchase, rescind your resignation and buy this album. Now. Your life will be the better for it. No exaggeration.