The track, Myopia, is available via:
New York, U.S.A.
The album, Myopia, is available via:
4th May, 2018
I am not sure how many reviews I will do before the end...
of the year but there might only be another two or three after this. There are some new tracks coming through that are worth exploration and consideration but, at the moment, I am catching up with an artist who I featured earlier in the year. I will talk about Rachael Sage and her sound in a bit but, right now, I wanted to look at changing style and hooking up with collaborators; artists who have a boldness and colour to them; artists bringing more positivity and reflection into their albums; those who are achieving a lot and look set to make a big break in 2019 – I will talk about New York and why it is an area more of us should explore. Sage’s new album, Myopia, sees her in a different light and it is a bit of a move for her. It is hard to believe that this is the songwriter’s thirteenth album and that sort of longevity is very impressive indeed! I guess artists can produce that many albums if they do not have a label and that sort of commercial pressure. One feels, if Sage were signed to one of the big labels, she would still have that endurance and be making records still. I have not seen many modern acts who have managed to sustain themselves through the years and continue to evolve. There are some great artists out there but few manage to crank out so many albums! Sage has managed to endure and survive because she puts so much life and colour into everything. Every album from her has its own themes and skin and you never get the same thing. Myopia is a new step for Rachael Sage and a different turn to what we are used to. If you are familiar with her piano stylings and something familiar; there are collaborators and the guitar is put more to the fore. It is not a huge leap in terms of sound but Sage has managed to add new touches and brought fresh voices to the pot.
It is good seeing names such as James Mastro (Patti Smith, Ian Hunter) and a new instrument is put under the spotlight. I think longevity is underrated and many tend to forget about artists if they drop off of the radar. Rachael Sage has a huge love for music and would not be doing anything else – it is a world that suits her perfectly and every album from her is a huge delight. I love how she manages to say something new with every album and how you get this artist very much connected to themes, images and aesthetics. I will talk more about visuals and that side of thing in a bit but I think making changes and taking your music in a new direction can revitalise what you do. I am not a fan of those who throw in too many producers and collaborators because it can crowd things and make an album sound impersonal. When you bring in a few select names and get that balance right; listening back and you have this rather wonderful and inspiring thing. That is what has happened with Myopia and the songs throughout. I shall move through and look at other topics but I wanted to look at how Sage has moved forward and what she is doing right now. Sage, when looking at the album, titled it as such to reflect society’s narrow views and bad sight. There is a lot of prejudice and discrimination; people struggling and so much hatred around. Rather than get angry on the album; Sage has brought something inspiring, warm and hopeful to the plate. There is a look at the negative sides of life and how we can be myopic – I shall go into detail when reviewing the album’s title cut – but she has taken a big leap on her thirteenth record. As owner of her own label, MPress Records, for two decades now, you have someone who can take control of their own sound but is always eager to explore. So many artists get stuck in a rut or reproduce the same thing every single time. Rachael Sage is somebody who, here, has abandoned (to an extent) the piano-centric sound and brought some guitars to the party. The change is not radical enough to abandon and alienate her core base but it will tempt new listeners in.
There is a natural versatility that comes with Sage – always producing varied and brilliant work that is stronger than most of the stuff out there. It is her wide-aiming songs and a sense of vibrancy that catches the eye. Look at the photos sprinkled throughout this review and you will see someone who has that rather vivid and exciting look. Sage is a character and a musician; someone who seems to embody an icon and pioneer. I see so many musicians who are listless and rather boring when it comes to their sounds and music. I will address positivity and bringing more of it to music but, looking at Sage, and I think about those who are gripping and provide us with relief. Sage can and does talk about serious subjects – not someone who overlooks what is important and urgent. Rather than being all about the gloom and anger; albums such as Myopia showcase plenty of hope and life. I was drawn to Rachael Sage because of her sense of character and colour. Too many artists do not draw the eye or capture the imagination; Sage is somebody who has that potent, dynamic edge and sense of adventure. I love what she is doing and have seen how she has grown as a performer through the years. One wonders where she will head from here but, right now, the music being put out into the world makes you stand up and take notice! I have not got time to review more than one track but, on Myopia, tracks such as Alive capture you with a retro sound and real drive; Snowed In is about the ever-controversial Edward Snowden and Haunted by Objects is about a hoarder whose only option is to set fire to everything! Those stories might sound darker and sinister but, in the hands of Rachael Sage, they are spellbinding and accessible. Lesser artists might make them too dark and depressed…but that is not what you get here.
Instead, we have someone who can introduce humour and a sense of fun into songs; make sure a message is being put across but grab you with a big personality and an even bigger voice. I am looking out more for artists who have the ability to get under the skin and infuse the senses. What amazes me about Rachael Sage is how she can create these deigns and concepts for albums and bring together so many great stories and songs. I feel the fact she has changed style/sound a bit and brought in a few different names means she is free to wander and open her imagination. I know there are artists who can meet my requirements and get into the blood but there are few who do things like Rachael Sage. I know she will continue to grow and enjoy success. She should act as a guide to other artists who are looking for ways to get their music heard and bring something fresh to the plate. Sage can discuss current events and address the world at large but ensure there is little aggravation and sense of misery. I love all the different facets and sides to the songwriter. The way she can entice and allure with her fashion and look; how her promotional shots really do draw you in and how you dive into the music and remember it for a very long time to come. I think a lot of music in 2018 has been about a rather angry and unhappy mood and, whilst that is fine, I am looking at artists who can give some uplift and hope. I am finding too many acts who are endlessly downbeat and cannot really present anything encouraging. Let me move on and talk about that particular side of things because I would like to see more of it in 2019 – a redemptive and hopeful spirit that counteracts the tension and stress that is out there in the wider world.
This year has seen a lot of stress and strain permeate music. The political landscape has been fractured and fraught – many artists have reflected this and tried to make sense. It seems 2019 will start with the same sort of friction and dislocation as we have seen; as we try to make sense of it all and move forward. I can understand why many would want to add their sense of disgust to what is happening but it has been rare to see sunshine and brightness in 2018. Even bigger Pop artists are not showing their usual verve and optimism and I wonder whether that is the way music is going. I feel 2019 is a chance for many to change the tide and, even though it is important to assess what is happening in the world, ensure fun is not lost and we can inject some positive spirit in. Rachael Sage does talk about the myopia of the world on her new album and figures that are controversial. She looks at serious things and big problems out there but does not weigh things down with anger. Instead, there is that hope of things thawing and what can happen if we take a more positive stance. We can be quite short-sighted and blind but, instead of fighting and being naïve; getting together and trying to make things better is what is required. Sage taps into this feeling of hope and being able to make the world better. That stance is to be applauded and, throughout Myopia, we have an artist who wants everyone to try harder and show that positive spirit. In fact, the balance of emotions we get on the L.P. is incredible. We are able to have this brightness and sense of hope but that does not mean the problems in the world are overlooked. I think Sage has created an album that is perfectly suited to this year and seems to match some of the very best albums from the mainstream. I am seeing more and more modern songwriters abandon more traditional aspects of love and relations and investigate politics and their world.
I shall move and round off this first section of the review but it might be worth looking at 2019 and what can happen there. I feel there will not be huge shifts in terms of subject and sounds; maybe there will be some minor shifts but I wonder how much politics and the state of the world will impact music. Artists are entitled to have their say and interpretation but I do hope many take a lead from Rachael Sage and see what can happen when you offer a more optimistic perception. She is not ignoring the seriousness of things nor is she making the music too weighty and bleak. Striking that balance is vital but I feel more fun in general needs to come into music. It has been a bad year in so many ways and many are looking for refreshment and new starts. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Rachael Sage than Myopia is a good place to start. It would be ironic if you overlooked the album but I feel like this is her most confident and complete work yet. The record is packed with textures and nuance; there are songs that take a few listens to get to grips with and others that are instant. It can be impossible navigating the underground and making sense of everything that is happening right now. I feel artists like Sage warrant more focus and love and, let’s hope, she will be afforded the chance to tour around the world next year. I will come to the reviewing part of the review soon but I wanted to look at Sage and what she has achieved so far in her career. Not only has her sound and style changed and grown but the plaudits have come in and she has played in some really good venues. I think those big moments and adventures can impact the work and create confidence.
Sage has shared the stage with artists as lofty as Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin and Beth Hart. She performed in the U.K. last spring and performed alongside Howard Jones. That appeal on both sides of the Atlantic mean she has these big fanbases and can experience very different music scenes. I love the fact Sage has that experience and she can bring all of that into the music. She has performed at the Fringe in Edinburgh and won several music awards here in Britain. A lot of her tracks have been played on T.V. shows and it has been a busy last few years for Rachael Sage. Of course, this will continue next year and I am excited to see how far she can go. The music industry is a tough one but Sage has managed to make her impressions felt and is growing all of the time. I feel 2019 will be a massive year for her and all of the past experiences she has had will come into play. Myopia is a fantastic album that seems to integrate all of the previous records and moods and signals another direction. I am already excited to see what her next album sounds like but shouldn’t get too carried away! I love how many different ideas and stories are explored throughout Myopia and what you get from each one. It is a packed and fascinating album that seems to perfectly look at some darker sides to the world but, above all, urge for movement and something more positive. We do need more songwriters like this and need to embrace those with big hearts, personalities and voices. I shall talk more about Sage in the conclusion but, as she does have an album out that is doing very well; it is time I got to looking at Myopia’s title-track and what it is all about. It is a wonderful song that gets into the heart and bones but also makes you think hard and deeply.
The opening stages of Myopia bring together wordless vocals and a rather tranquil setting. I have mentioned how piano has been overtaken by guitar to an extent throughout the album but you get a nice and potent piano sound that brings the introduction to life. Sage is wordless to start and the introduction has this very bold, effusive and romantic quality that seeps into the skin and creates a very distinct mood. Even through the track suggests short-sighted people and something more negative; the heroine is talking about someone who knows what they can live with and without and, right away, you start to wonder. Maybe it is about someone who is materialistic or people who are uncompromising when it comes to their own lives or others. All of these thoughts went around my head but I struggled to get over the beauty of the performance. There is no real aggression or urgency that would put you off. Sage is comforting and soft but able to project power. It is a brilliant concoction and sound that catches you by surprise. Sage talks about people seeking answers and, when they have received all the answers they need, they will have more than enough to survive. Maybe we all do get too fixated with being spoiled or seeing ourselves as victims; expecting too much and taking so much for granted. It is hard to listen to the song and not think about political figures and what they are doing. Although it is not a direct message to leaders and how they control countries; I feel it looks at society in general and how we do not often look beyond our own lives and think more deeply about the wider world. Sage suffers from myopia herself – as do I – and uses the word in a couple of different ways. There is a literal sense of poor vision but, away from that, she has been a little selfish and not bold enough. She talks about holding a kite too tightly and lacking some perspicacity.
Sage’s voice always has that sweetness and breathlessness that gets into the soul and makes the song come alive. I can see Myopia as a call to everyone to be a little less concerned with their own universe and having a more positive outlook. The lyrics have that oblique nature in places that means you are free to interpret and take things in your own direction. The heroine talks about earning an embrace and that feeling of having enough. Maybe we do value our own worth and success in terms that seems unreasonable and, if we let some things go or change our views, then we can all become a little richer and see things differently. Myopia brings in yearning strings and all sorts of elements. You get little bits of Country and Folk and it is a wonderful blend. Sage – sounding like Briana Corrigan to an extent – talks about a screen of myopia and being tangled up in her own way. Things were piling up and she was not able to get through that. She does not say whether relationship burdens or the busy nature of everyday life meant she was being selfish and not taking stock of things. Whatever was causing this burden and strain seems to have been lifted and she is now in a more productive and clear space. It is nice to hear her looking forward and in a different space. I am not sure whether the change will be instant but the heroine is urging others to remove the clutter and take a different view of the world. Maybe things can get a bit much and we do not often think rationally about what we have and how much we possess. The musicality and strength of Myopia means the song will remain firmly lodged in the mind for a while.
Everyone will get something different from Myopia but, in essence, it is about changing your way of thinking and taking a more positive approach. I love the song and how much life is in it. The music is never too heavy-handed but it is lush and has a real sense of the romantic. Within the yearning strings and the tender notes; Sage lets her voice shine through and guide. She offers laughter and syncopation; some really nice expressions and a real personality. It is a song filled with heart but that message regarding a different viewpoint and perspective. If we can be content and satisfied with what we have and not being too demanding then that will make us look more clearly at the world. I took something from the song and I know many others would have too. It is a number that you can learn a lot from but the music is accessible enough so you can play it in the background and let it wander. Few songs have that ability to get right into the brain or float in the atmosphere. It shows what an accomplished songwriter Rachael Sage is and how she can deliver songs with such confidence and ability. There are plenty of other songs like Myopia on the album but I feel the title offering stands from the pack. It seems to hold the most weight and nuance and I think it is the representation of what Sage is trying to say. It is a wonderful song and one that is perfect for this time of year. We are with family and giving a lot but many of us are caught up in the tensions around us and maybe not being as open and humble as we can be. I think next year provides an opportunity for reassessment and change and we all could do with something more positive. Sage is definitely one who wants change and is offering the listener with excellent wisdom and guidance.
I have explored various sides of Rachael Sage and I hope I have done justice to her work and endeavour. Even though the Myopia album came out a few months ago, I was keen to review a song from it and not let it slip by. Ensure you investigate every track from the record and do not let it pass you by. There are some fantastic songs throughout and you will get something different from each of them. I was hooked by so many of them and will make sure I listen more through the weekend. It is a bit too early to see where Rachael Sage will go and what the next few months will be about. I think there are touring dates booked but make sure you look at her social media channels and get to grips with her moves. I know there is a lot of love for Sage in the U.K. and, although I mentioned it in the introduction, I forgot to talk about New York. Maybe I have not left myself enough time but it is an area of the world that always produces sensational and deep music. Perhaps it is the sheer size and variety there but you have the history and richness that runs through the streets. It can be hard living in cities and built-up areas of the world and finding peace and positivity. So many urban songwriters are beholden to a general mood of fatigue and suffocation and, whilst it is genuine and understandable, we need to embrace those who have that hope of positivity. N.Y.C. seems like a very intimidating and scary place to live but there is humanity and so many different nationalities living there. It is hard living in the U.S. and U.K. right now and there are so many problems that need to be tackled. Songwriters cannot ignore everything going on around them but music’s role, in my view, is to help guide and to offer something comforting. Rachael Sage is a natural leader in the sense she can write music that makes you feel better and there is so much going on that spike the mind. I know she will be very busy next year and many more people will be turning onto her music. I hope she gets back to the U.K. and we get a chance to see her take to the stage here. I shall wrap things up in a bit but I have loved listening to Myopia and getting involved with its title offering. The song is brilliant and it is one of those cuts that get into the brain and you will be remembering it for a long time. I might do a couple more reviews before the end of 2018 but I was keen to involve Rachael Sage. Make sure you have a listen of the album and follow Rachael Sage on her social media channels. Congratulations to Sage on a brilliant and productive year and let’s hope this continues into 2019. I have heard so many different songwriters and offerings but few have the same qualities and highlights as Sage. She is one of those artists who stands aside from everyone else and offers much food for thought. We need that in music right now and a lot more of it next year. I shall end the review now but want to encourage people to listen to Myopia in its entirety and, if they want a track to pick for special consideration, then its eponymous offering is, to my mind, the best. It is another wonderful, intriguing and spectacular release from an artist who...
FILLS the heart with something special.
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