Album Review: Elise Davis – Anxious. Happy. Chill.

Anyone who believes happiness kills creative inspiration can quickly have their theory disproven by Elise Davis‘ new album. Despite being recorded during the dark times of the pandemic, Davis channels the joy from her new marriage into ten songs that span a variety of genres yet all showoff her songwriting excellence.

The album kicks off in high gear immediately with the Go-Go‘s channeling opener “Lady Bug”. The fuzzy guitars, hard hitting drums and 80’s tinged vocals create a feverish punk energy as Davis soaks in the satisfaction she’s feeling in her new love, “I will be your lady bug. I will be your favorite drug”. The hard 180 to the chill and hazy “Yellow Bed” doesn’t create the whiplash you would expect, as the warm and soothing atmosphere of the track easily subdues any disruptive feelings.

ELISE DAVIS IN NASHVILLE, TN FOR ANXIOUS. HAPPY. CHILL.

There’s a relatable pining for escapism in “The Grid”, as Davis casts off lyrics about separating from social media and the obnoxious photos that come with it (“I want to go off the grid. I wonder what would happen if I did?). Her vocals take center stage here, soaring over the muted guitars and light harmonics. From here Davis returns to relationship joy on “Honeymoon”, which evokes the retro sounds of 60’s girl groups and garage rock, with a sunny, harmonized pop rock chorus. Davis seems to be enjoying letting out her rock and roll spirit, getting loud on the propulsive anthem “Thirty”, even throwing in a mean guitar solo to prove her bad-ass bonafides.

For every foray into heavier music, Davis balances it with sparser acoustic numbers which put focus on her lyrical skill with details. Little moments stand out, like mentioning her “flamingo-colored dress” in “Flame Color”, or the dreamlike observations in “Waves” (“If she were a color, she’d be blue. If she was a feeling, she’d be sex.”). Even her everyday observations in “Another Year” carries a blue-collar realism that avoids cheesiness (“Open up another beer, counting down another year”).

While singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen, finding one that can harness their happiness into songs that are both musically memorable and lyrically meaningful should be celebrated, so we recommend celebrating the release of Elise DavisAnxious. Happy. Chill. when it’s released on April 16th by giving it some listens.

Hear her pre-released tracks below!

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