Celeste’s debut album ‘Not Your Muse’ is a collection of beautifully written songs about love. The London-based singer has found early success after winning the BBC Sound of 2020 and landing the coveted spot singing the album track ‘A Little Love’ on the John Lewis Christmas advert. Having already been branded as the next Adele with an Amy Winehouse edge, the expectations of Celeste are high, and she certainly has big shoes to fill. Whilst this will draw in listeners, the constant comparison may hinder Celeste’s journey of finding her own distinct sound.
Whilst Celeste’s earlier music was more jazz and soul focused, ‘Not Your Muse’ is much more pop. Her sound is polished and the production on the album is flawless; the album itself sounding like it has come from an international pop star. This comparison is especially stark when compared to the grittier sound of her earlier work, such as her ‘Lately’ EP.
The standout album track is undeniably Celeste’s previous single ‘Strange’. The track’s simplicity is impressive despite the sorrow it contains. The beautifully melancholic piano accompanies the quiet string instruments to create a hauntingly sad instrumental backing. For a singer with such powerful and full vocals, Celeste’s ability to soften and pacify her voice seemingly adds to the immense misery of the track. It’s a song that comes extremely close to rivalling Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ – a track that anyone who has gone through heartbreak can relate to.
Throughout ‘Not Your Muse’ Celeste mixes a jazz pop with soulful vocals. She finds a balance of slightly alternative mainstream: just enough to make her sound distinct in the mass pop media market. Whilst she could be criticised for her lack of experimentation, her very safe sounding debut album will no doubt add to her early music success. Every song is radio friendly and album tracks ‘A Little Love’ and 'Stop This Flame’ have already found TV advertising success. ‘Not Your Muse’ is not a revolutionary album, but every track is a more than enjoyable listen.
Although 2020 might not have given Celeste the opportunities she deserves, she will no doubt go on to huge things.
Dig This? Dig Deeper: Michael Kiwanuka, Jorja Smith, Gotts Street Park
Words: Bella Fleming
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