Jessica Badgery reviews upcoming artist Maisie Peters’ debut EP.
At the age of only 18, and after a fleet of popular new singles, Maisie Peters’ debut EP gives an intimate insight into the realities of your first love and your first heartbreak. The six expertly crafted songs perfectly capture a unique sound that can only be described as a current take on Taylor Swift and Lorde – a mix of a contemporary, more electronic music with some classical acoustics, Dressed Too Nice For A Jacket is the millennial take on intimacy.
Starting her musical career on YouTube, Maisie Peters has immersed herself in the social media boom, and in 2018, her releases began to get the attention that they surely deserve. With devastating tracks like ‘In My Head’, ‘Enough For You’, and ‘Feels Like This’, Peters is right on track to being the next up-and-coming heartbreak guru for everyone who knows the melancholic helplessness that comes hand-in-hand with love.
Beginning with her first single ‘In My Head’, Peters’ voice captures a raw intensity that puts your feelings into words before you even feel them. The juxtaposition of the opening with the melodic voice and the harsh violin perfectly encompass feelings of complete emotional turmoil whilst trying to keep yourself pulled together. It’s a high-energy bop that just grasps the mood of post-breakup nights, trying to dance until you can’t remember, but secretly wanting to cry in the bathroom anyway. The song ends with just Peters, her voice broadcasting a kind of hopelessness that resonates deeply with anyone who has known heartbreak. The perfect post break-up song.
Following this track is a more toned down expression of deep emotion – ‘Details’, about a lost love who’s found someone new. Listening to this, it chronicles that idea of a “feeling that I don’t want.” Anyone who’s tried to stay friends with an ex can relate completely to the confusion of not wanting someone, but not wanting them to have anyone else. The honest vocals, paired with harsh lyrics, follow Peters’ trend of contrasting sounds, along with the merge of a folky melody and modern synths towards the end of the track.
This same combination bleeds through into Peters’ third song, ‘Enough For You’. Beginning with soft acoustics and an electric synth bubble, this track mirrors the mood of a restored old movie. It’s a blend that pairs perfectly with the ecstasy of meeting someone new only to have it fall completely apart near immediately. Originally written based on the story of a married woman’s infatuation with her driving instructor, an anecdote that Peters heard and immediately took inspiration from, her voice depicts that rise and fall of emotions, the feeling that You’re Just Not Quite Good Enough. An obsessiveness leaks out into her lyrics, as well as the intoxicating feeling of infatuation, giving off a more heartbreaking ‘Blank Space’ by Taylor Swift vibe. The distorted vocals nearing the end of the track will make you feel a sort of loneliness that you associate with walking home early from a party under bright street-lamps on dark roads.
Despite her whole album being a recount of love and heartbreak, when listening to Peters’ next track, ‘Architecture’, a different mood is communicated. A similar tone to the other songs, but with a more modern and typical melody, the rise and fall of the song matches well with the lyrics. Transitions between acoustic and electric are flawless, giving a new quality, and really encompassing a feeling of being lost and trying to find your way back. Peters communicated that, whilst originally intended to be a love song, she performed this track to her friends right before they were about to leave for university, and listening to the lyrics, it’s a perfect appreciation of having to say goodbye to people who have built you into who you are.
The next track begins with a sort of electric current – a melodic fantasy. There’s a twinkle present throughout ‘You To You’, but the savageness of the lyrics gives the impression of an extremely angry fairy. The bitterness of this song sums up the feelings of rage when you realise how much time you wasted on someone who was completely not worth it. Every girl has wanted to tell the person who screwed them over “hope she does a you to you”, and the fun boppiness of the song gives off intense Lily Allen vibes. The rise of the bridge and the easy flow of rhyme weaved within this song makes it such an enjoyable tune to listen to, and it’s really fun to imagine this song in a typical teen movie’s revenge sequence.
Peters’ last song on the EP is no doubt her most emotional – ‘Feels Like This’ has been stated as the only song that Peter’s has written that’s a serious recount of her experience with love. Like a muted confession, the twinkle of the piano relays the complete disbelief and magic of finding someone genuinely amazing. A perfect end to the album, it depicts a hope of finding someone new following disaster after disaster, the feeling of “how can I resist?” when you thought you could never find love again. The build up at the end of the song mirrors how overwhelming a new relationship can be, but as it slowly trickles to a finish, a calm washes over you with Peters’ words, “I got everything at my fingertips/How can I resist when it feels like this?” Like a warm hug on a rainy day, this song makes you genuinely want to fall in love, and it would not be out of place on the soundtrack of a romance film.
Overall, Peters’ new EP is a genuinely enjoyable listen. Her fantastical yet brutally honest depiction of heartache is so completely relatable, but she conveys it in such a way where it’s no longer sad, you just want to dance your heartache away. There’s a real magic to Dressed Too Nice For A Jacket, and it’s all produced by a small-town, 18 year-old, rising artist. It’s hardly unimpressive how much she has been able to achieve – Maisie Peters is definitely one to keep an eye out for.