Recommended Tracks: “Stay with Me”, “Storm”, “Austin”
Artists You May Like: Stevie Nicks, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple
A storm can be unforgiving. It does not care who you are, what you do, if you are ready for it or not. There is no telling what the wind and the lightning could do, but the strength of a storm can definitely turn a community upside down within a matter of minutes. And then you are left in the aftermath, focusing on the damage. How many buildings collapsed? Where are the power outages? Was any life lost? It all adds up, giving any and all storms a bad reputation. We may not be able to stop a storm from coming, but we can do what we can to embrace it, as Christina Martin does on her new album, Storm. With songs that focus on themes like closure and optimism, Storm shows that it’s not what happens to us that defines us, but how we learn from and adapt to these obstacles that truly represents who we are.
The album mostly looks back on the past, with Christina bringing up moments that made a lasting impact. By doing so, she attempts to find closure. The opening track, “Little Princess,” is about Christina’s relationship with her older brother who passed away in 2013. She remembers going up to him, counting on him to give her advice or approval. Over the cool sounds of drums and synth, Christina sings, “I turned to you to read my poems / I looked up to you to wave your wand,” attempting to impress him with her writing. It speaks to Christina’s determination and caring nature, which comes through on “Stay with Me.” Slower and filled with romantic strings and piano, the track showcases the dynamics of the tracks on the album, along with Christina’s adaptability. Throughout the track, she reflects on the uncontrollable passing of time. In between emotional lines like, “All the things we’ve destroyed / Nothing’s really changed,” Christina repeats the phrase, “Stay with me,” which grounds the song and tries to rectify the situation. There is a sense that things will turn out the way they should, and we get this sense again on “Meeting Place.” We are also treated to the sincere sounds of strings on this song, their overlapping lines propelling us into the uncertainties of life, as Christina so describes. But despite where we go, “We’ll always have our meeting place” to return to as needed.
Cutting through the sentimental sounds of these tracks are “In Control” and “Austin,” which have a little more fire to them. On “In Control,” Christina proves that she is in charge. She dominates the scene, the sounds of electric guitar and drums backing her up. Her vocals dance along over their beats and surges, and the quieter her voice gets, the more intense the song becomes. The vibe shifts on “Austin,” though, where we float back to a better time. We are treated to generous harmonies, sweet vocals, and pop melodies here, the tender spirit that Christina felt in the city of Austin resurfacing in the notes. As she sings, “Austin, it was a place I went to dream,” we can understand how beautiful and necessary it was for Christina to be there, making memories with the people around her.
In the end, it comes down to the lessons you take from all that you go through. On the melancholy “Some Days,” Christina shares that not all days are good. As much as you may try to have a positive week or make each day exciting, some days will just be downright bad – and that is fine. To the encouraging sounds of strings and piano, Christina sings, “Somewhere deep inside there is a spark / I have learned to fuel this with my heart,” realizing that any type of light in the dark is worth preserving. It does not have to burn bright every day, but it needs to stick around. Other tracks like the title track and “Meant to Get Us Through” linger on purpose. They remind us that there is meaning in each moment we face. With the title track especially, we understand that both the sunny days and the storms that threaten them contribute to the people we become down the line.
Christina has carefully selected the memories that have influenced her outlook and understanding of life on Storm, and with the right instruments and tones and textures, she has relayed their significance. There will always be instances when we find ourselves in the right and wrong situations or where we lose ourselves or find others along the way. And just like the way Christina is able to expertly meld her voice to the sounds of a full band or a lighter string ensemble, we will be able to adapt to life’s many scenarios. As Christina says on the final track, “Healed,” there are opportunities to rewrite your story or “just walk away.” In doing so, you will find closure, gain control, and bring the lessons you learned with you into the next storm.
You can listen to Storm on platforms like SoundCloud, Apple Music, and Spotify.
Catch Christina on tour here.