Bre Kennedy Releases Debut EP "Jealous of Birds"

The Nashville artist's debut project has finally arrived.

Jason Lee Denton

Bre Kennedy seems to have fallen in love with the idea of change—and she wants to share that love with anyone who'll listen.

The Nashville singer has already been featured twice on Popdust, making her own space for her folk-tinged pop and open-book lyricism. "Slippin" was a passionate jump into an unknown future and embrace of change. "Strings Attached," her follow-up single, examined change as the beginning of healing, as she learned to leave behind the things that weigh her down—however painful they might be. Kennedy's sense of self is constantly rewritten in these tracks, her sound earnestly flexing and expanding to match her emotionality. She delivers a catchy pop chorus as easily as a mournful reverie, and the range is crucial for what she's trying to say: Everything in her life is ephemeral. But to Kennedy, that fact makes these passing moments even more important to wrestle with. If her future's uncertain and she's meant to leave her pain behind her, then what is she meant to build herself with in the meantime?

Kennedy's debut EP, Jealous of Birds, provides a possible answer to that question. Picking up the themes that her singles set forth, the project is an exciting step for Kennedy, solidifying her talent as a burgeoning singer-songwriter while still keeping her focus as a narrator intact. The title track finds a golden mean between "Slippin" and "Strings Attached," welding her misty vocals and melancholy guitar to a layered, rising hook. The country-esque strings and building synth atmosphere unfurl the song under Kennedy's voice, bringing an almost cinematic clarity to her lyrics. "Between the good and the madness / It's hard to imagine we could stay this high," she confesses on the second verse, and that preoccupying impermanence rears its head again.

Kennedy is "jealous of birds" for their freedom, the ease with which they can leave the earth and all its constant changes behind. But the song distinguishes itself from the singles that heralded its arrival with its calm and cool reflection—not a pop-inflected excitement or a desolate mourning, but more of an honest acceptance. There's a maturity in the track that's just as engaging as her previous music, and it gives the rest of the EP's tracklist a greater sense of purpose.

On Jealous of Birds, Kennedy isn't quite as scared by the confusing exhilaration of growing older and growing up. The EP sheds an old way of life that doesn't fit her anymore. The project's best parts shine through in Kennedy's sense of balance, how she feels both freed and isolated in turn, as she reaches for something new. The highs are just as emotionally resonant as the lows for her, and she gives them each a gentle and generous nuance in her songwriting. Growth, change, and transformation: for Kennedy, the metaphors don't do reality justice. These things hurt. But, with her confident voice and stimulating pop sensibility, Bre Kennedy pushes forward into a future that belongs to her, even if she's unsure of her own destination. Jealous of Birds is the sound of flying.

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Bre Kennedy Faces Old Ghosts on New Single

The Nashville songwriter's second release features a more melancholy sound as she considers what she's left behind.

Jason Lee Denton

Bre Kennedy has already proven her talent for rousing pop ballads with her debut release "Slippin."

Now, she's returned to share her newest single with Popdust, "Strings Attached," a somber and poignant recollection of painful memories. The track reveals absorbing new facets of the Nashville songwriter's sound and broadens the kind of emotional weight Kennedy's work can carry.

"Strings Attached" reckons with a connection that Kennedy's left behind, the entire song addressed to someone who no longer fits in her life. A pensive, flowing guitar conjures both homesickness and pain while sparse instrumentation and muted harmonies fill out the edges of the song's folk-country sorrow. Kennedy's vocals slip between whispers and weary clarity, allowing her to play with register and to imbue the lyrics with heavy sentiment, not nostalgic or trite but clear-eyed in its gaze. "No matter what I say / I miss you either way," she sings on the ethereal bridge, but "Strings Attached" isn't a bitter rebuke or a backslide of any kind: it's a lament of how easily old pain can come back to the surface, and how who and what she's lost—in this case, who she has walked away from—will remain part of her journey, just as much as the good memories.

In essence, Kennedy has written "Strings Attached" as an understanding of growing up. The titular metaphor of the song suggests images of toxic relationships and broken trust, but Kennedy turns her pain into lessons she won't forget without letting that pain consume her or her music. Like "Slippin" before it, "Strings Attached" accepts ambiguity as unavoidable in life, but still leaves room for something more. Kennedy's confidence in her ability to shoulder this burden, as her star continues to rise, should not be taken lightly.

Strings Attached

Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.

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