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  • Megan Cao

Review: "twenty five" - Kelley Cole

"twenty five" by Kelley Cole is a poignant, strikingly sincere single that embodies the tumultuous era of diving headfirst into true adulthood. Born out of the almost ritualistic experience of a first encounter with the IRS, the track is a vivid narrative spun from the threads of self-discovery, financial awakening, and the bitter taste of grown-up responsibilities. The moment Kelley Cole watched her bank account dwindle post-tax payment, her instinct was not to retreat but to translate the universal punch-in-the-gut feeling into music. This creative birth, on the floor with nothing but a guitar, a notepad, and colored pencils, is telling of the homemade authenticity that pulses through "twenty five." It’s raw, unfiltered, and unpretentious – a slice of life turned into art.

Musically, "twenty five" delivers a nostalgic yet fresh sound that strikes a resonating chord with its blend of gutsy rock foundations and the whimsicality of toy pianos and wobbly synths. It's a testament to Cole's ability to juxtapose the playful innocence of youth against the stark, sobering reality of maturation. The track's production wraps listeners in a sonic comforter while Cole's vocals - laced with vulnerability and determination - guide us through the emotional landscape of her rite of passage. What sets "twenty five" apart is its ability to act as both a personal memoir and a universal shout-along anthem. Sprinkled with the daydreams and delusions that encapsulate the early twenties, the song captures the essence of that pivotal age with questions and truths laid bare, offering companionship to anyone caught in a similar crossroads. It’s an encapsulation of the feeling when early adulthood both weighs down and liberates, echoing the experiences of many who are losing and finding themselves in the same breath.

As a self-produced and written track, "twenty five" marks Kelley Cole taking control of her artistry, defiantly claiming her space in a burgeoning Nashville indie scene that she’s already shaping with initiatives like mini-festivals at Flamingo Cocktail Club. Her trajectory from a Chicago suburbia to the stages of Nashville is a journey of grit and grace, something that shines through her entire creative output. The upcoming EP, 'when will I feel alright,' promises to be a cultivation of Kelley Cole’s fervor for real, gut-driven storytelling, if "twenty five" is any indication. Cole thrives not just in her music but also as a fulcrum of Nashville's independent circuit, her songs echoing the screams and feelings of women past and present.

Written By Megan Cao


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