Life seems a little bit easier when I have Stella Donnelly singing me sweet melodies of the crooked world around us. Blasting her debut album, Beware of the Dogs, through my almost broken earphones, I sing out my favorite lyrics while I furiously bike to my German class. Personally, she helps me understand my daily struggles just a little bit more. While the cold days come to an end, I listen to each track feeling like she is in the room singing to me; telling her stories around a cheap bottle of wine and cozy nights staying in.
Beware of the Dogs weaves in and out of day-to-day themes, almost like a personal playlist she made for our mundane, everyday activities. She spruces them up with witty humor and empowers listeners to find levity in tough situations. With each honest lyric comes her unique voice. I love the way she allows her Australian accent to shine through each word and clearly sings with complete confidence. Her quirky style creates a safe space where she stands in solidarity with personal doubts, such as unfortunate relationships, to broader societal issues like rape culture and toxic masculinity.
“Your personality traits don’t count
If you put your dick in someone’s face”
-‘Old Man’ by Stella Donnelly
Not to mention, the imagery in her debut album is incredible. The Guardian beautifully explains Stella’s technique in a recent review: “The imagery is awash in the familiarity of suburbia, where secrets are shielded from view behind lace curtains in the same way that Donnelly’s message is located beneath her sweet brand of guitar pop – like a razor blade hidden in a bowl of custard.” In one of my favorite tracks, ‘Allergies,’ she adds small details of sounds where she sniffles and compares a bad relationship to an allergic reaction. Singing about these unfortunate allergies over a beautiful acoustic guitar, Stella allows her listeners to relate to these unsteady relationships that always begin to flare during a particular time of year.
“I picked up these allergies
Somewhere on my own
I’m scratching off my skin again
I rub down to the bone.”
-‘Allergies’ by Stella Donnelly
Stella Donnelly’s sweet sounding songs have a killer bite and an addictive story that you never want to end. She sings each song like she’s telling you a story, painting a picture in your head and taking you on an adventure through her everyday life. No matter how tough the situation, she is proving the world is still hers for the taking, and she makes it feel like it’s all of ours, too.
“I always try to paint a picture, and I always try to explain myself. No. 1 for me and my music is to have a relationship with the people that you’re playing to, and give them that respect— not to take the crowd for granted, but explain to them what those things are about. It allows them to understand the whole picture so much more easily.”
-Stella Donnelly, Vanity Fair Interview
Beware of the Dogs is unique because it captures the heart of every listener. It allows each individual to take away something unique from the album with different tracks connecting to different people based on their own personal experiences. Go discover these personal connections live! Stella Donnelly will be playing with a full band this Monday at YUCA. I’m definitely going to be front row dancing and singing to all of my favorite songs (pretty much every song to be honest), so see you there!
HEY Recommends: Stella Donnelly in Cologne
Monday, 15 April 2019