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Anne Hollister

Nov 19, 2023

"Live & Let Live" EP by Brooke Josephson

At once both authentic and bare, as if to suggest an emotionality not often found in today’s aesthetically unadventurous pop music, the beats in Brooke Josephson’s “No for an Answer,” one of the six songs comprising her new extended play Live & Let Live, have a great rhythm distinct from the others that we find on the EP, but in all actuality, their fundamental structure isn’t all that different from what we can hear across every track here. There’s a contagious groove around almost every corner in this record, matched up with melodicism of a rare breed in its own right.


Lyrically speaking, I think “All We Never Had,” the title track, and “Eye in the Sky” are probably the sharpest that Josephson is delivering to us here, but overall she has a great knack for conjuring up witty verses in a steady flow without ever sounding out of her element or overwhelmed by the harmony. She’s got quite a cathartic style to her delivery that I want to hear her experiment with once again in a new full-length album, but on this occasion, it’s offered in strong enough samples that we can get a pretty clear picture as to what she can do.

It’s certainly not easy to stylistically categorize any of the songs on Josephson’s latest record using the boxy labels some of her underperforming peers would be happy to wear, and I think it’s important to note that none of the music here sounds deliberately constructed to appeal to an ever-eager “indie” audience which has been growing suspiciously in size the last couple of years. “Good Kinda Tired” plus “Burning Journals” are both exceptionally rough-edged on paper, but through the continuity of the harmonies in these two tracks, they play out together as two gorgeous exhibitions in surreal grooving essentially cut from the same sonic cloth.

Production-wise, I think that Live & Let Live is as squeaky-clean an outing as you could ask for in an American pop release, but I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that it’s any more varnished than it should be. There’s a lot of tonality for us to appreciate in “No for an Answer,” “Live & Let Live,” “Burning Journals” and “All We Never Had,” and had producers not taken as much time to work out the minor intricacies as they ultimately did, I can’t say whether or not this record would be as charismatic a listen as it undeniably is, even after repeat sessions.


For those who live for those special singer/songwriter crossover cuts that only come around every once in a while, you cannot go wrong with what Brooke Josephson has done with this EP, which I would deem as being as close to a must-listen six-track release as her scene has put forth in 2023. It feels like a step towards a more mature sound for this impeccable songstress, and I would even go so far as to say that its six songs are exemplary additions to a growing discography of charmingly introspective tracks.

Anne Hollister  

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