With the ever-changing nature of pop, it’s refreshing to hear an artist like Natalie Shay. Drawing from various 80’s influences, while also not sounding too far off from the 90’s golden era of pop rock, Shay’s latest EP, Naked, is a winning collection of buoyant, effervescent songs that will certainly put you in a good mood.
The entire EP is immaculately produced, giving a bright sheen to the upbeat tracks, like first single “Not the Girl”. Shay called the song a “reflection of a relationship”, and a modern look at dating, and while lines like “you could be the one that I’m not neglecting” certainly carry some emotional heft, the 80’s drum machines, synths and slinky guitar solo keep this a sing-along anthem.
There’s a similar energy to “People Like Me”, which is full of synth noodling that recalls classic Madonna. “Owe it to You” carries a little more warmth, with it’s snapping and girl chorus harmonies, though get a little cheesy with the call-response section.
The mid-tempo title track puts Shay’s vocals at the forefront, and at times it feels as if she’s holding back, preventing the chorus from soaring as high as it could. Thankfully a sax solo comes in to add some sparks, before the layered vocals and drum machine bring the track to a powerful conclusion. The EP closes with a reworked version of her previously single “Yesterday”, slowing the track down to a soothing ballad with unique adornments (the cello works very well here).
There’s a dearth in the marketplace for quality pop with rock influences, and Natalie Shay shows on Naked that she definitely has the songwriting and vocal chops to fill that niche. Take a listen to the EP and hear for yourself: