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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Magic" - Kara Connolly

On the effervescent chorus of Kara Connolly's latest single, "Magic," she provides insight into the central ethos behind her upcoming sophomore album, California Queen. "Gonna dive in deep 'til I'm losing control," she declares triumphantly over resplendent dance pop. The forthcoming, nine-track record finds the alt-pop artist cutting herself free from perfectionism, embracing the magic of letting go. "Magic" proclaims this personal liberation to the dance floor. The opening verse has a gruffer exterior, terse bassline and rigid drum machine thump ahead like they're coated in concrete. As Connolly sings of self-sabotaging thoughts and patterns, she finds the strength to break out of that rigidity. When she soars into the chorus atop a motoring pop engine, it feels like a breakthrough. The music itself creates a powerful sensation of unburdening.

As "Magic" ignites into a confident, dance pop anthem, Connolly fuels the fire with mantra-like reminders. "Let it go and let it happen," she insists, "you might find magic!" Contrasting these affirmations are questions the USC-alumni reflects on in the pre-chorus. "Why am I afraid of something always going wrong?" While undeniably personal, Connolly writes from the crossroads of universal experience. It's for this reason that the feelings translate immaculately to the actual experience of listening. The bridge puts this self-affirming magic to the test. Piano and synth keys illuminate the path ahead as the singer finds strength in the silly acts she does for herself. "Lipstick smilies in the mirror; if that sounds weird, well, I don't care." It's a miraculous shift to prioritize personal joy over self-consciousness. She suggests that we're all instinctively capable of finding the magic in life. If only we would all let ourselves seek it out.

The sincere and open-hearted music of Kara Connolly has brought the independent artist to astounding career heights. With the release of her 2019 debut, Life in Rear View, the singer/songwriter/producer demonstrated her polished vision of pop: fun, catchy hooks expressing the depth of emotional experience. This songwriting has landed Connolly's music on editorial playlists and major placements within studio films and network television. "Magic" follows several singles leading towards her upcoming sophomore album. California Queen demonstrates an artistic step forward, centering around self-worth and discovery, with the artist's most soaring and infectious pop songwriting.

Written By Andy M.

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