Recommended Tracks: “Surely Goodness”, “Daffodil Floors”, “Van Gogh”
Artists You May Like: Maggie Rogers, Sara Bareilles, Christina Perri
No matter what occurs during a rough patch or how long it lasts, there is always a moment of clarity that will present itself. This moment may come during the patch, instilling just enough perspective or encouragement to keep going. This moment may also come at the end of the rough patch, signaling that the worst is over. For singer-songwriter Mandi Mapes, this clarity came during her rough patch, the promise of something better arising from her dire circumstances and inspiring her to make art. With her new album Levees, she heals, grows, and blooms with seven insightful tracks that walk us through her moment of clarity, only to emerge on the other side.
Mandi heals through tracks like “Daffodil Flowers” and “Levees,” both of which touch on the importance of self-care. We are whisked away to a world full of bright green valleys covered in colorful petals on “Daffodil Flowers,” which has already resonated with so many listeners. On this track, Mandi fills the air with innocent piano tones, simple melodies, and lyrics that center on making amends and coming back to your true self. It is a lesson on restoring the parts of you that make you whole, whereas “Levees” is all about protecting those parts. On this string-adorned ballad, Mandi sings, “Forgive me if I’m guarded, if I’m slow to let you in” and “He said I will stand out in the pouring rain / Brave the wildest hurricane / Wrap myself around all your pain / Just to show you my love,” showing that need to still protect your heart even when the other person gives you their full devotion.
Along with the healing, Mandi gives us tracks that foster growth. The opening track, “Surely Goodness,” takes into account the hidden facets of life that radiate goodness. Over charming rhythms and light percussion, Mandi sings, “And surely goodness follows me around” and “Even in my loneliness / Love reaches out,” reminding herself that she is not limited to the darkness. She continues to remain positive on “Even On The Worst Days,” which is about being there for someone in the most trying of times. It is reminiscent of “Levees” in terms of lyrical content, but the upbeat melodies and pop sensibilities make it unique. This pop sound also comes through on “Van Gogh,” which is equal parts soft, sweeping, and nurturing. On this anthemic track, Mandi reminds others out there to persevere, singing, “Oh, it’s so easy just to quit / What you need is a little more grit” and “You’re a Van Gogh / You’re a rare find.”
After using the messages of these songs to grow, Mandi is then able to bloom. On “Home, Sweet Home,” her maternal instincts kick in, as she questions what it would be like to feel a mother’s love and to also give that love to a daughter of her own. To best amplify these questions, Mandi makes references to birds, taking note of the way they seek refuge under the wings, sing freely, and fly high. She would love to feel so protected and carefree and to, one day, pass on those qualities. On the closing track, “Dream,” she keeps these wants and needs alive. Over piano and acoustic guitar, Mandi sings, “Now that I’m older / It gets harder to see / That the stars in the sky / Are shining just for me.” This quasi-lullaby is then complete when she shares, “It’s kind of sad how I’ve listened / To every voice but my own / But I’m remembering how to dream again,” holding close her ambitions.
All in all, Levees is a perfect soundtrack for this time of the year. Its light riffs and nature motifs best reflect spring and all its possibilities, mixing for whimsical yet simple productions. Additionally, Mandi’s pure and silky vocals are enough to soothe and comfort, guiding us along as we flourish with her. In the end, she has harnessed the strength of levees, as proven in the lyrics, showing that she will not drown in her feelings; we are left believing that for every winter, there is a spring.
You can listen to Levees on platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music.