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Camille Schmidt – “Good Person” EP Review

jtpao 07/08/2024


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Folk N Rock
Camille Schmidt – “Good Person” EP Review

Today, I’m taking a look at a debut EP, a pretty awesome one at that. It’s always exciting when an artist puts out their first bit of music for the world to hear. I know it has to be nerve-wracking to some degree, or at least I assume it would be. Camille Schmidt’s “Good Person” is a bit of a light pop and heavily folk-inspired album. I have to tell you right up front, before I get into the details, it’s filled with some incredible songwriting.

The EP serves as a personal journey through her experiences, offering a look at her struggles with shame and perfectionism. Throughout the tracks, Schmidt goes into the complexities of these emotions, exploring how they’ve shaped her life and relationships. Her writing style gives this look at the internal battles, moments of self-doubt, and the pressure to meet impossible standards.

Starting off, the album opens with “Your Game”, which has this nice and steady theme, with an infectious baseline running through the background. The track has a warm, modern folk feel to it, and Camille’s vocals are truly stunning. Her voice comes across as bright and ethereal, adding a unique dreamy  feel to the song.

The arrangements on this track deserve special mention. During the last two lines of the first verse, a bluesy guitar tone makes a brief appearance in one channel of the stereo field, then fades away. It’s a small touch, but it adds a really nice depth to the overall sound. As we move into another part of the verse, there’s a short break with a subtle, thumping drumline. It’s there and gone in a moment, but adds a lot to the atmosphere. These little production tricks are scattered throughout the song, and they all come together cohesively.

One of the coolest elements of “Your Game” is how it ends. The final word Camille sings is “stop,” and true to form, the music cuts off abruptly. There’s no fade-out – just a sudden halt that ties the lyrics to the music in a clever way. To me, this song feels like it’s about a one-sided relationship, and the frustration and self-doubt that often come with one-sided affection. It’s about the internal struggle of someone who finds themselves caught in an emotional tug-of-war, desperately wanting to be loved while recognizing the futility of their situation.

She grapples with the realization that their love interest views them more as a convenience than a genuine romantic prospect. There’s a sense of being used, like a safety net or a fallback option, rather than a priority. I love how the song touches on the all-too-familiar experience of obsessing over someone who doesn’t reciprocate those feelings. It depicts the mental gymnastics people often perform to justify staying in unhealthy situations, hoping that things might change if they just hold on a little longer.

The piano in “Red and Blue” slowly makes its way into existence, a soft whisper that grows stronger with each note. It’s like watching a flower bloom in slow motion, each petal unfurling to reveal new depths of beauty. And wow, I have to say, this is a beautiful song, coming in a just a little over two minutes.

Now, right beneath this delicate melody, a hidden world of percussion pulses. It’s barely there, yet you can feel it – like the heartbeat of the earth itself, steady and ancient. These deep, rumbling tones anchor the lightness of the key work above, creating a contrast that tingles the senses.

This is one of those tracks where as the song flows on, it gathers force like a river swelling after rain. The chorus bursts forth, a waterfall of sound cascading down, as it has some very, very beautiful harmonies. After a big instrumental crescendo, the piano returns, a familiar friend guiding us home.

“Red and Blue” is about the complexities of family dynamics and personal relationships. The song depicts a household filled with tension, where she seeks escape from conflict. The emotional instability, self-isolation, and an intense focus on a specific person. And she grapples with feelings of anger and sadness, represented by the colors red and blue.

It’s about dealing with the challenges of growing up with unreturned affection. Now there is also a big emphasis here on the desire for someone to change, contrasted with the realization that such change is unlikely to happen. Camille captures the frustration of being caught in patterns of behavior that are unhealthy but difficult to break. Because as we all know, when we experience things like this, rational thought can often just go right out the window.

“Bumblebee Drinks Lavender” is a sweet little treat in your headphones, with guitar tones that evoke the essence of its namesake. The acoustic melody comes in like a summer day in a flower-filled meadow, each pluck of the strings are like the buzz and hum of industrious bees, creating a rich sweet sound.

And for those of you that have had it before, I would say the guitar work on this track is reminiscent of lavender honey. There’s a sweetness to the sound that doesn’t overwhelm, and you can almost feel the sun-warmed wood of the guitar, adding in those the bright, honeyed tones.

This song is about a romantic relationship and personal growth. The emotional investment one makes in a connection that often feels unbalanced or at least in some parts, unfulfilling. She sings about the situation where closeness and distance within the relationship shift unpredictably.

And to me it feels like her sense of self becomes blurred with their partner’s, leading to, what sounds like to me a loss of individual identity. I feel like the title of the song here represents a contrast to the her emotional turmoil, symbolizing a natural, simple calm that feels unattainable with the way things currently are for her.

“Fakeout Ending” is the shortest track on the EP, clocking in just under one minute and thirty seconds. Despite its brief length, the song packs a powerful emotional punch, both lyrically and musically. The track has a distinctive sound that mixes different styles. It carries a retro feel while also sounding like alternative garage rock. Though the instrumentation is clearly electronic, it captures the energy of what I can only call, ‘acoustic garage rock’.

What makes “Fakeout Ending” stand out is Camille’s vocal performance. Her delivery is incredibly powerful, conveying deep emotion that’s easy to feel. It’s as if she’s experiencing a release through her singing. The way she presents the lyrics gives the impression of an argument playing out in her head.

This level of emotional authenticity in a vocal performance is truly awesome, and I really love it when singers can bring that out in a delivery. Camille really shows her ability to channel strong feelings into her singing, allowing us to connect with the song on a deep level.

As for this song, it’s like watching a relationship’s entire lifecycle flash before your eyes in the span of a heartbeat. It’s giving me this feeling of being stuck in a loop, replaying conversations and scenarios in your mind. It’s the late-night thoughts that keep you awake, the “what-ifs” and “should-haves” that circle endlessly.

Camille’s voice here really carries the weight of those unspoken words, of things left unsaid until they burst forth in an explosion of feeling. It’s the sound of walls breaking down to reveal the truth. This song is here to let you know, that even the briefest encounters can leave lasting marks on our hearts, and that endings aren’t always what they seem. And this song has left a lasting mark on my ears, and I love it.

“Wake Up” kicks off with a distinctive galloping type of sound. If you’re familiar with older Western TV shows, you might recognize this as similar to temple blocks. But here’s the interesting part – it’s actually created using a guitar in a clever, unconventional way. Or at least, I think it is. As the song progresses, it shifts into a sound that’s reminiscent of Southern California surf rock. This transition creates a really cool blend of styles within the track. And I do nned to point out, that running through the background is also a great bassline that I have to give a tip of the hat to.

The song is about the struggle of breaking free from a toxic relationship and destructive patterns. It tells of someone grappling with depression, self-loathing, in what feels like an addiction, likely influenced by a harmful partnership. It’s like watching someone repeatedly touch a hot stove, knowing it burns, but unable to stop.

There are moments where she attempts to envision a better future, but these feel more like desperate grasps at positivity rather than genuine hope. She’s aware of her addiction and wants to overcome it, but the path forward seems unclear and daunting.

“Bird on a Telephone Wire” wraps up the EP with a predominantly acoustic sound. Camille opts for a softer approach here, letting gentle, warm tones take center stage. There’s a very subtle bassline running through the background, adding depth without overpowering the delicate acoustic elements again.

Which I do need to add, the production of this EP has been wonderful. As the track progresses, wind instruments make an appearance towards the end. This addition brings a new texture to the piece, enhancing its overall richness without disrupting the established acoustic feel.

The song feels like it’s about a partner who’s emotionally absent, more invested in video games than in their relationship. The pain of being ignored just feels like it’s too much, giving a sense of loneliness and frustration. The song touches on the one-sided nature of their attempts to salvage the relationship. It seems therapy is a tool they’re using, but the burden of effort falls squarely on her shoulders.

Perched high above the bustling world, birds on telephone wires are silent observers of life’s day by day. They’re there, always present, yet rarely acknowledged. In our daily rush, we seldom spare a glance for these feathered spectators, their existence fading into the background of our lives.

This overlooked perspective is at the heart of “Bird on a Telephone Wire.” Camille taps into that feeling of being present yet invisible, of watching life unfold without truly being part of it. It’s a powerful metaphor for those moments when we feel disconnected from the world around us, or from those closest to us.

This song really hits home for me. When I was a kid, I always felt a bit different, maybe a little lonely. That’s why I’d always head to the back of the bus. It was my spot, from there, I could just watch everything happen around me without having to be part of it. I was that quiet kid, the one who’d rather observe than participate. It wasn’t about being unfriendly or anything – I just felt more comfortable taking it all in from a distance. Kind of like those birds on telephone wires, always there but rarely noticed.

Now, I have maybe a bit of a different take on the ending of this track, and her dream. The titular image of a bird on a telephone wire takes on a new meaning in this context. It’s not just about escape, but about a detachment so complete it borders on the surreal. This dream-like state she describes feels like a manifestation of extreme anxiety, possibly even derealization or depersonalization. It’s as if the emotional toll of the relationship in this song has pushed her to a point where she’s disconnected from her own experiences.

Camille’s EP, while not a traditional concept album, mixes together a cohesive story through its songs. The tracks seem to explore her journey towards defining her own moral compass, independent of external expectations. Throughout the EP, we see Camille grappling with the complexities of personal growth.

The songs touch on various aspects of her from a young age to adulthood – from toxic relationships to self-discovery, from moments of despair to glimmers of self-acceptance. Each track adds another piece to the puzzle of what it means to be “good” on one’s own terms.

As for the sound, this EP really showcases her versatility as an artist. She’s not afraid to dip her toes into different waters, and it pays off big time. On one end of the spectrum, we’ve got these tracks that are dripping with very light pop influences. She then strips it all back and gives us these beautifully raw, folk-inspired pieces.

And let’s talk about “Fakeout Ending” for a second. That track is something else entirely. It’s teetering right on the edge of going up to eleven. If she’d pushed it just a hair further, we’d be in headbanging into folk metal territory.

I wake up to a little over 100 email pitches every day, drowning in a sea of new music. Key point, that’s the amount I wake up to. But Camille Schmidt’s debut EP was not just another drop in the ocean – it’s a tidal wave that swept me off my feet. For me this was not your run-of-the-mill good release. No, this is the kind of rare find that reminds me why I do this job.

Camille Schmidt isn’t just a good person, she’s a sonic sorceress who’s conjured up a debut EP so bewitching, it’ll have you questioning whether she’s discovered some ancient musical grimoire or if she’s simply been blessed by the indie-folk gods themselves.

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