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  • Karlee Skipper

Review: "Olive and Ruby" - Victoria Staff

Victoria Staff’s latest release is a nostalgic ballad about yearning for a place that no longer exists. “Olive and Ruby” is an ode to her favorite coffee shop in Vancouver that has since shut down. In an effort to preserve the café, she has wrapped up her favorite memories into a poetic masterpiece. The song contains details that beautifully illustrate the scene of a busy, yet quaint coffee shop. She opens the song with the picturesque scene: “It's all coffee and cactuses from where I sit// And the couple on my right plays with a young kid// And he's got a yellow rainhat and matching boots.” From the very first lines, Staff utilizes simple, yet effective imagery to articulate exactly what she has experienced in this shop. It is a place for everyone—from single people to entire families. The coffee shop had something for everyone, and was the perfect spot to duck into on a rainy day. In the chorus, she expresses the sorrow she feels that the shop closed down. It was not just a simple store like a Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf; it was a safe space for a community to congregate. She starts the chorus with the lyrics, “I still remember the smells and the music// I wish I'd known that I'd come to lose it// Something so simple, and perfect, and beautiful gone.” She acknowledges that although she loved it, she took it for granted. She never thought this shop was going to close and now it is gone forever. Only a memory of the past. She ends the chorus with the despondent line: “I believe it when they say that old phrase, that all things come to an end// But it's stuck in my head.” She knows that nothing lasts forever and that her comfort space had an expiration date, but she cannot let go. The entire song utilizes detailed lyrics that effortlessly transports the listener to this beloved café and eloquently preserves its memory. Staff truly does the Olive and Ruby Café justice while flawlessly exemplifying her extraordinary songwriting talent.

“Olive and Ruby” consists of a relaxing production that brings to life the nostalgia found within the sentimental track. The song kicks off with a gentle piano paired with an acoustic guitar that sets the calming atmosphere. The guitar plays in quarter-note triplets to provide airy waves to the track. After a couple measures, Staff’s angelic voice joins the production as she guides the listener through her vivid memory. In the pre-chorus, the song begins to build with a staggered electric guitar being strummed between each line and a soft, synth wave increasing as the production prepares for the chorus. When the chorus hits, a steady drum and soothing violin are added to the track, further enhancing the ethereal production. The song maintains this structure between the choruses and verses, providing a familiar element, similar to the familiarity and comfort the coffee shop gave its patrons. Staff naturally spreads this feeling of serenity to the listeners, making them feel the nostalgia with her. Then in the bridge, the production of the chorus continues with the electric guitar becoming more prominent and frequent. This emphasizes the emotional climax of the track before switching to the peaceful outro that ends the song with the line: “Something so simple, and perfect, and beautiful gone.” The last line ends the track abruptly, symbolizing the sudden closing of Staff’s favorite coffee shop. It is a clever reference to the tender notion that, sometimes, the things we love will come to an end with no warning. “Olive and Ruby” is a touching track that utilizes a whimsical production that marvelously captures the spirit of the once beloved coffee shop.

Victoria Staff is a Canadian pop singer-songwriter. She made her official musical debut earlier this year when she released her single, “Records & Honesty.” However, she has been passionate about music from a young age. When she was five-years-old, her parents signed her up for piano lessons and she immediately was drawn to creating her own music. At ten-years-old, she began truly writing her own music of her own and wrote her first real song, “100 or less.” This song appeared on her first album, The Blue Book Project, which was recently removed from all streaming platforms in an effort to rebrand her sound as something that is authentically her. Between the informal debut in 2017 and the release of her official debut single, Staff earned her degree in Behavioural Neuroscience from UBC. She then learned that a career in that field may not be her true calling, so she turned to music as both a cathartic release and her new, true passion. Staff will still be helping people that struggle with mental illness, but in an artistic, relatable manner. This knowledge only makes her songs resonate deeper and causes fans to anticipate her new releases further, as each song is bound to touch on anxiety, depression, and other mental illness. Staff is not only a singer and a songwriter, but a multi-instrumentalist with skills on the guitar, piano, banjo, and ukulele. She has derived her inspiration from prolific industry names such as Taylor Swift, Hozier, and Gregory Alan Isakov. Similar to her musical heroes, she aspires to create honest art that moves the listener and makes them feel less alone. With only two official releases under her belt, Staff is already on the right track to complete stardom.

Written By Karlee Skipper



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