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  • Hailey Schap

Review: "Polaroids" - Kaiya Gamble

“Polaroids”, Kaiya Gamble’s latest release, offers an intensely cathartic remembrance of a relationship. The beautifully solemn ballad, though slow paced, feels like a freefall. As if losing this person has been building for a while, but it is only now Gamble feels free to express the grief she experiences over it. The token word of the song “polaroid” is the key to understanding her theme here, an outdated method of capturing memories. How better could one represent this attachment to someone lost? Especially where, as she describes, they are the only one still stuck on it, still refusing to use those “fancy photographs”. The song is a symbol of her love, she is angry, but never directs it towards the person she misses. Instead, she offers her lyrics as a message of nostalgia with only a touch of resentment. It’s as if she’s sending an old picture to someone she misses to remember the good times they shared, and in turn, the fact that those times ended on the other’s accord.

The song begins with a missed call recording, another nod to her theme of nostalgia, as well as the neglect she’s experiencing from the subject of the piece. When Kaiya’s voice is heard, the tone is decided for the remainder of the song. Her voice is immediately full of heart, she’s quiet but seems to be belting with the emotion it evokes. She begins describing her grief slowly over piano, the line “who you've worn on your sleeve” reminding the listener of that earnest emotion she feels and expresses. Not her own heart on her sleeve, but the fact that it belongs to someone else being displayed. Dedication, loyalty, and love being shown off proudly where they are usually hidden. Following this description of her current state, she goes into a story that chases her own nostalgia. “Used to be me…” she begins each statement as the piano behind her picks up, chasing her own spiraling memories. When she admits their present day relationship, this racing music halts in its tracks and becomes, again, melancholic and depressive. She follows this ongoing emotion though, and hesitantly, the music does as well. As her voice rises in anger she clarifies she feels no rage towards this person, despite the strength of her emotion. As she goes on, there is a moment in which her voice cracks, not by fault but in a way that manages to make her already heartfelt voice sound even more so, as if she is on the brink of tears throughout this confession. With this, she folds again into the pattern of “used to be me…”, this time featuring a note that can be described as nothing short of pure talent. A content, soft, goodbye wishing them the best follows and the song closes.

Kaiya Gamble is a sixteen year old artist who has still managed to be in the field for nearly a decade, a true musical prodigy. Her first single “Speak Out”, released in 2020, was instant proof of this, earning a position on the Top 3 of the International Women’s Freedom Song Contest and being nominated for Pop Single of the Year for YYC Music Awards in 2021. In the same year, she became the youngest artist ever featured in the “In The Mirror” podcast, as well as having frequent appearances on billboards, in articles, and in a best selling novel. Needless to say, her popularity skyrocketed the moment her music became public. In the two years since, she’s released three singles which have echoed from stadiums packed with thousands as she turns her focus towards live performances. Her notoriety has continued here, where she became the youngest artist to ever perform at Canadian Music Week in 2022. “Polaroids”, a song which Gamble herself has attested to being close to her heart and a true connection with listeners will likely join her on the stage as her audience grows more and more. Stream it and follow Kaiya Gamble below.

Written By Hailey Schap



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