What have you outgrown in your life? Clothes. Relationships. Jobs. I’m sure you could come up with a list that best describes your own personal experiences. In her new album, Outgrowing Ourselves, Americana-roots singer/songwriter B.B. Cole expands the idea of being close-in, of reaching for the stars and viewing life through a different, albeit country-hued lens. Cole’s nine songs are not all about the same subject and she does dive into a few different types of emotional experiences, but overall, Outgrowing Ourselves, is packaged perfectly together.
Three songs that stood out the most are “Emotional Baggage”, “My Decision” and “Tears + Fears”. Cole, who is based in Vienna, Austria, compels the listener to draw upon influences of the American country sound in “Emotional Baggage” also has a very gregarious tone. “Emotional Baggage” puts the listener in a position to feel like they are watching the luggage stroll by at an airport. I found myself thinking about the idea of ‘outgrowing’ or ‘growing into’ something or someone and this song really hit that point home for me. We carry the stories, the experiences and her idea of emotional baggage with us that we can’t not travel through life. We can try and discard it, but it’s always there for us to remember to pick up where we left off. This is an upbeat song, a song that I could easily hear on modern country radio, but also adult contemporary pop radio. The piano is spry as it dances along to the hopping electric guitar. Cole’s voice is cheerful and optimistic.
In “My Decision” Cole wraps the listener around the idea of a moving train, as it whistles down the track. I think what she is getting at is the idea of a moving train, like life, where you can either get on the train and go with the flow, or stop at the next depot and take a different path. Again, my mind, obsessed with the word ‘outgrowing’, felt like this song, at number five in sequence, told a story about being basically the half-way mark. Changes and decisions at the midpoint in your life are hallmark. “My Decision” is quick with its percussion, as if time were ticking.
The third song I’d like to point out also happens to be the last song, “Tears + Fears”. Take note, that’s not ‘tears for fears’. There is nothing 80s synth, power pop about this song. It’s pure magic, though. I felt like this was the tipping point and yet, here we are at the final track. Cole is a breath of fresh air and this song didn’t feel like country to me. It felt other worldly and almost ethereal. Her vocals hover over the sound of the ocean, of a beautiful day with all blue skies and the world for the taking. She is hopeful and she is free of her tears and free of her fears. It’s quite beautiful and awfully breathtaking.
A special nod to “Demons” and “When I Was A Little Girl” for keeping things extra interesting. Never judge a book by its cover and never feel like you outgrow your imagination – B.B. Cole’s Outgrowing Ourselves’ outperforms expectations.
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