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“19” by Taylor Jules

In her latest single, titled simply “19,” Taylor Jules continues to impress critics with the muscularity of her melodicism with quite an intriguing twist. Rather than putting out a single containing the same mix of one song we’ve heard a hundred times from a thousand different artists in the last few years, this player relies on a more conventional rendition of the indie pop model in “19” while also inviting a slimmed down arrangement into the fold as if to challenge the woman with the microphone in her hands to keep up with the conflicting juxtaposition. Jules comes into this composition with enough swagger to take down virtually anything that comes in her path, and whether you were listening to her before this cut or not, I think you’re going to be as impressed as I was with her abilities as a solo performer.


The melodicism in this piece is the bread and butter of “19” beside the crooning in the eye of the storm, and it isn’t dolled up with anything that would expand outside of what simplistic composing would require it to be. There’s chemistry between the instrumental faceting and the vocal that winds up channeled into the lyrics, giving us a moodiness in every verse that I haven’t been able to evade in any listening session I’ve spent with this single. They’re both sensationally evocative documents and best of all, they’re able to be thought-provoking without devolving into a predictably political territory on any front – as has been the case with too many of the indie pop and vocal-centric releases I’ve reviewed in the past four months.

I like how stripped-down the tempo for this song is, and had it not been as conservatively styled as the lyrical framework is, I don’t know if it would have spotlighted Jules’s pipes as much as it ultimately does in this scenario. She doesn’t need very many bells and whistles to sound like a legitimate superstar; truthfully, with the talent she’s got at the moment, she could front a band as easily as she could do something purely vocal-based, along the lines of a retrospective on vocal pop or even something as bold as first wave jazz. This is a good use of her skill set, but I doubt it’s the best we’re going to hear from her camp in this lifetime.  

2023 has had some amazing indie content for a year that hasn’t had a lot of positive news to report back about, and from where I sit, Taylor Jules’s work is definitely among the best of its peer group. Now, with the release of “19,” she’s continuing her story and filling in an epilogue to the outgoing gen of pop songcraft that could go a long way toward establishing her as a mainstream contender in the years to come. It’s still really early to tell how far she’s going to go in this industry, but if I were to go off of her creative moxie exclusively, I would have to say that we should expect an even high quality of harmonies in her future recordings as a solo player.  

Mindy McCall



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