Charlotte Bash is an artist eager to explore and experiment. With her album Princess Game, she uses different styles and sounds to produce an album that explores the spectrum of music. Overall, Princess Game is a collection of different songs by an artist who’s working to find and perfectly polish her musical identity. It’s an enjoyable ride, marked by wonderful highs that show off her talent.
Princess Game opens with ‘Leave,’ a bubbly track about having resilience and keeping your head held high throughout difficult times. It’s a sweet and somewhat simple track, but Bash’s charismatic voice carries it. At times, she sounds restrained and apprehensive to a fault, but it’s never anything major.
It’s a difficult task to watch Bash’s music video for ‘Leave’ without smiling. There’s a whole bunch of personality in this video that makes Bash come across as so likable and endearing. A first glance of the album and single artwork alone seems to portray Bash as an artificial blonde, which (thankfully) is not the case. ‘Leave’ shows what she’s like under the wigs and outfits — and it’s a lot more real and exciting than the bubblegum artwork. The video’s simplest shots show Bash performing the song live, sans wigs, and her personality still shines through.
Creative director and producer Laura Raczka was able to find the perfect medium here, highlighting Bash’s penchant for fun and colorful wigs but still showing enough of the person underneath the performer to make Bash someone you’d truly want to be friends with. (‘Cause don’t we all listen to pop music because we secretly want to be besties with the singer?)
On ‘Siren,’ Bash is much more confident vocally — taking on the persona of the track’s titular character very well. The production is somewhat busy, and at times the BPM feels a bit too fast for Bash’s vocals. A stripped back, acoustic version sounds like heaven, though, because both lyrically and vocally Bash is on point here.
Piano-led track ‘Down’ features a sultry and huskiness to Bash’s voice that works on levels that border on sublime. Backing vocals accentuate and lift up Bash, and the production nails it, with handclaps and drums that heighten the pace, making ‘Down’ a toe-tapping number. As Bash sings about money bringing the world down on the jazzy track, she sounds better than ever.
Bash’s newest single is ‘Labeled,’ a track featuring Anye Elite. Everything that Bash proudly puts on display in the ‘Leave’ video is sung about on ‘Labeled,’ as she warbles about breaking free from society’s mold and being her own person. Bash revels in what sets her apart from others, and this is something that you can tell she cares dearly about. Her vocals are uber-passionate, and (without labeling Bash herself,) this track should be labeled as a must listen.
The title track of Princess Game is an 8-bit synth delight. Sound effects reminiscent of classic video games are used to good effect. There’s a seductive tone to Bash’s voice on ‘Princess Game,’ even if the track isn’t her best. It’s definitely an album cut, but that’s not a bad thing. The track serves its purpose to show that Bash is not limiting herself to one sound, and while they may not all hit it out of the park, her desire to experiment will certainly please many listeners. Bash manages to put her stamp on any track she sings.
It’s hard to believe there’s many dreams Bash finds impossible, so it’s no wonder ‘Impossible Dream’ is an inspiring track about achieving your goals no matter how big they are. Vocally, Bash continues to push herself and belt it out. The piano-driven track swells and elevates the track, although this is another cut that could be less busy. Like ‘Siren,’ an acoustic of this track would be delightful. When her lyrics are this deep and moving, the production can be scaled back and still be just as effective. Nonetheless, ‘Impossible Dream’ is still a beautiful track.
‘Missisippi River Queen’ is an upbeat, dance track following the synthy-video-game production of ‘Princess Game.’ Lyrically, it’s not as profound as some of her other tracks, but it’s still a fun track that shows Bash’s diversity.
‘Scars’ manages to perfect the tightrope Princess Game walks of trying to find its sound. There’s a delicious mix of meaningful lyrics and just enough production. As Bash sings about the hardships of life and the world, she’s more relatable and endearing than ever. One of the album’s best.
Princess Game comes to a close with ‘Back Again.’ Interestingly enough, Bash continues to experiment sonically, and ‘Back Again’ reminds me of early Shania Twain in the best way possible. The strumming guitar and resonating bass paired with Bash’s twanging vocals mesh just enough country and pop. Princess Game ends on a wonderfully high note.
As an artist, Bash is just beginning to find her sound, and Princess Game shows a unique artist not afraid to experiment and dip her toes in the waters of many different sounds and genres. It may not be the most cohesive album, but Princess Game has its highs. With her undeniable charisma and talent, Bash is one to watch. As she keeps working and perfects her sound, she’s only going to get better.