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  • Lauren DiGiovanni

Review: "Die Hard" - Stela Cole

Stela Cole’s latest single “Die Hard” is here! This is one of her first tracks from her sonic rebirth, taking inspiration from greats like Fleetwood Mac, The Mama’s and Papa’s, and the Eagles, but also from newer artists like Tame Impala and the Arctic Monkeys. Taking 2023 to focus on her mental health, exiting her old label deal, and blacking out all her profiles, this is Stela’s first song released in a year. This dark and sultry pop track delves into a toxic relationship, and how difficult it can be to exit an endless cycle of high-highs and low-lows with a partner. She starts off the song by recognizing that she has nothing to lose with her partner, but she just doesn’t care. She can’t escape this relationship, “so what's the fun of missing out if I don't have to?” Once again, another day is lost and “another fight lights [her] up,” yet she can never leave. In the chorus, she introduces the hook of the song: “old habits die hard.” Stela’s partner plays her everyday, but she loves it. In the bridge, she repeats these heartbreaking lines: “what's the use?/there's no escaping you/no matter what I do/my body knows the truth.” Even more heartbreakingly, Stela revealed that “Die Hard is about [her] experience of consistently choosing the wrong path with the wrong people… even when [she knows] where it ends."

This is a sultry and emotionally intense track with a performance that is flawless yet harrowing. The production is relatively simple, as it features only an electric guitar and strings with some moody backdrops lingering in the background. The electric guitar riffs are moody and dark, giving “Die Hard" a rock feel. Similarly, the string swells and punches give the track an edgy feel as well. Surprisingly, the guitar and the strings mesh and blend really well. Stela’s vocals are very rich and luscious, as she flexes her lower range in the verses and higher range in the choruses. Her harmonies and runs in the chorus once again add a dark and edgy vibe as well. Most importantly, the production matches perfectly with the theme of the lyrics as well as the music video.

Hollyn Elizabeth Shadinger, professionally known as Stela Cole’ is an American singer-songwriter who first entered the music scene in 2018. She first started focusing on songwriting at 15 years old, and was noticed by Steve Sparrow, her eventual manager, after a couple of demos.  She attended Belmont University to pursue a degree in “Commercial Voice”, but dropped out after being signed by RCA Records. She released two singles with RCA, but was sadly dropped due to creative differences. Stela self-released her first EP “Woman of the Hour” in 2020 and her TikTok-viral song “I Shot Cupid” in 2021, which has amassed over 55 million streams to date. After this huge success, she signed with Ultra Records. Since then, she was a semi-finalist on the show American Song Contest to represent her home state of Georgia with her track “DIY”. There’s no telling what Stela Cole will do with her songwriting talent and her creative vision for her music in the future.

Written By Lauren DiGiovanni



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