Olivia – Weightless EP Review
Olivia’s debut EP, Weightless, is ready to take you for a stroll down memory lane — to her positive world full of first loves, perfect summer days, and uplifting music to get you through the inevitabilities of growing up and experiencing heartache. Olivia isn’t going to light up a dance floor, nor does she want to; she’s not a Dangerous Woman nor a Femme Fatale. Her music remains more pure and airy, harkening back to days when pop was pop (or as it would be called now, more bubblegum), and less dubstep music you’d blast at a rave.
The title track opens Weightless on a positive and light note, with an atmospheric and uncluttered production paired with Olivia’s breezy vocals culminating in a track that feels as light as its namesake. Olivia’s music is pop in the most purest sense of the word; a lot of what you’ll hear dominating the charts today is pop with a fusion of dance or dubstep, or, alternatively rap / country / some other genre crossover. Think Natasha Bedingfield meets Disney Channel era Hilary Duff.
Watch the music video for “Ferris Wheel”, a sublimely relaxing summer song with fun and cheerful lyrics like “A California sky filled with red balloons”. Olivia sings about the wonderful feeling of just being alive and having a positive outlook, and it’s absolutely infectious.
As Weightless goes to “Outshine The Stars”, Olivia’s production gets more broodingly wistful as she dedicates the song to the lost and broken, remaining ever positive and reminding them they are perfect and outshine the stars. While “Weightless” and “Ferris Wheel” are rather casual and carefree, “Outshine The Stars” goes in deep to show Olivia is an artist with actual substance. An empowering chorus elevates “Outshine The Stars” to make you forget about ever feeling lost or broken.
“Skyline” is a more dance-driven track with strong verses but a production that feels a bit artificial in comparison to the rest of Weightless. It’s reminiscent of something you’d expect from Ellie Goulding; even when Olivia gets daring and experiments with her sound, she does it well, despite “Skyline” not feeling entirely authentic to her image.
She quickly gets back to her innocent charm with “Freckles and Sunshine”, a wonderfully cheerful track about puppy love. The lyrics are beautifully romantic and imaginative, with a simple production that works best for her voice to truly shine. Even if you’re well past your first time falling in love and have moved onto being bitter and jaded (yes, I’m totally projecting), “Freckles and Sunshine” will bring about happy memories and lift your spirits from even the darkest of places.
Olivia’s puppy love was short lived as Weightless closes with “Without You”, a somber and heartbreaking track. It’s a surprisingly mature and heartfelt story of loss, even though Olivia’s wide-eyed innocence still peers through with lyrics like “I’ll carry you, always with me. I’ll carry you, always in my heart.” Young love hurts, and I hope for her sake whoever hurt her eventually loses their place in her heart. If not for her sake, then for the sake of the music — I could totally get into a 2016 version of Natasha Bedingfield’s “Single”, and Olivia could rock a song like that to perfection.
Ultimately, Olivia’s Weightless shows that she is in her element making bubblegum pop with a twist. There’s a real purity and innocence to her music that you wouldn’t find on a more manufactured bubblegum album. It’s only a matter of time before the stars align and Olivia outshines them all.