While not the first single from Nina Nesbitt‘s The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change, Loyal To Me received the most buzz partly because it best signified a radical shift in musical direction. An instantly catchy ode to knowing your worth, with ’90s R&B influences abounding and distinctly more poppy production than we’re used to hearing from the singer-songwriter, this song’s only crime might be to promise something that the album doesn’t consistently deliver.
Love Letter continues in that vein, trap 808s and more throwback R&B – Jamelia’s Call Me, anyone? – accompanying a fiery kiss-off to a guy who “couldn’t get it to-to-together”, but there are also plenty of more understated songs, which range from powerful (such as album opener Sacred) to pretty but forgettable. Penultimate track Last December is a particular offender: saccharine nostalgia about a relationship that was so good until it ended, a sparse guitar figure failing to maintain interest and little electronic flourishes here and there that feel limp in the context. It’s hard to tell which of these contrasting styles is more “authentic” for Nesbitt at this stage, but the schmaltz of a tune like this certainly feels contrived.
Elsewhere on the record, Somebody Special incorporates a brilliantly minimal pop-drop, and The Moments I’m Missing utilises the reminiscent tone of Last December to far greater effect, but it’s the title track that is most powerful. “The sun will come up, the seasons will change” is repeated, mantra-like, as a safety net for life’s disorientating changes over electric piano chords and modern pop’s ever present vocoded harmonies, a fitting end to an album that finds Nesbitt in the midst of personal and artistic self-discovery. She’s almost there, just a few more seasons.