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Timothy Ball

Dec 6, 2023

“Live & Let Live” From Brooke Josephson

Rolling into action quicker than most listeners will be able to keep up with, “Burning Journals,” one of the six songs comprising the new record Live & Let Live from Brooke Josephson, doesn’t waste any time when it comes to getting the audience pushed to the very edge of our seats. Despite dropping more than one multilayered composition on us in Live & Let Live, this singer/songwriter doesn’t even come close to touching on overambitious territory in this brand-new EP. She’s spot-on commanding and ready to take the world by storm in this record, which is quite something for anyone emerging from the shadows of the underground.

There’s a ton of physicality to the guitar parts throughout the record, but in “Burning Journals,” “Eye in the Sky” and “No for an Answer,” the vocals are arguably just as strong as any single note in the music. By creating this kind of sonic equilibrium, Josephson is not only able to reinforce the rhythm of the music with her voice, but also eliminate the need for any heavy bass presence (something that has been annoying for a lot of critics this year, myself included). Filler is nonexistent; for this artist, extra fat has no role to play in the music bearing its name.

The drums are mixed well in Live & Let Live, and in “All We Never Had” and “Good Kind of Tired,” they’re utilized as a foundation for every cathartic eruption we encounter on the melodic end of the material. It can be really difficult to find a way to make a beat the focal point of a particular song without overexploiting the muscularity of the percussion, but I think Josephson’s job here is more than on par with what her mainstream counterparts have been producing in recent times.

She isn’t trying to recycle any elements in this EP, but she’s steering clear of an avant-gardism that wouldn’t have served her music in any capacity at this stage of her career.

In “Eye in the Sky” and “No for an Answer,” Brooke Josephson is so swaggering that you could almost separate the humanizing verses she’s conveying from the strappingly confident vocal bringing them to our ears with ease. This isn’t to downplay her effectiveness as a singer; truth be told, I think she’s demonstrating a lot more duality in these songs than some of her competition has in the course of an entire full-length studio album. 

It would be a lie to say that there isn’t any good music out right now on both sides of the dial; in my opinion, it’s never been a better time to follow the pop/rock beat, but with that said, few players I’ve reviewed have the talent Brooke Josephson does. As Josephson, she’s taking serious action to renew the legitimacy of the sleek folk sounds of the ‘90s with thoughtful lyrics that never go to a dark place. I can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next, and I have a feeling you’re going to agree with me.

Timothy Ball

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