Charlotte Sometimes: Circus Head
This summer at Warped Tour was an especially hot one. After a couple of hours of aggressive mosh pits and angst-filled lead singers, I decided to take a break in the acoustic tent just as a woman wearing blue-starred shorts, a tank top, and a fedora took the stage. For me, it was a flashback to 2001 and Michelle Branch all at once. I was immediately sucked in. She introduced herself as Charlotte Sometimes, and began with a song called “Paint the Sky.” With just an acoustic guitar and some of the strongest vocals I had heard all day, she played music that felt to me like an exposure of the secluded bedroom thoughts we all hold inside. It was raw, it was real, and it was truthful. I would later find myself singing that chorus(“Who said it’s easy to love anyway/It’s not easy to love anyway”) for the rest of my summer.
I went home and looked up her fourth and latest EP, Circus Head. What I did not gather from my Warped experience was how beautifully her music translated acoustically. So well, in fact, that I thought she was an acoustic folk artist. In reality, a majority of the record features an electronic drum kit and synthesized instruments behind her poppy yet powerful voice. With electronic this and electronic that dominating the current music industry, it comes as no real surprise that the EP lends itself to those trends. However, after seeing Charlotte deliver such a strong, powerful performance, I couldn’t help but feel that she could still survive on shear talent alone, without relying on the latest synth-pop trends.
Digital fluff aside, Charlotte has a unique vocal timbre that gives her music a distinct character, without being so distinct that it finds only niche appeal. On top of that, her songwriting is exceptional and comparable to that of Ingrid Michaelson or Brandi Carlile. And I’m not the only one who has taken notice, as Charlotte also writes for Sony. It’s this powerful songwriting which makes Circus Head an EP that not only melts your heart with lyrical truth, but also empowers you through musical vulnerability.