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Music Reviews

Monti "This is For You"

“This is For You” is the latest album by American singer-songwriter Monti (Laura Silva).  Based in Los Angeles, this Electro-Pop artist beautifully wears her heart on her sleeve, but she is no sentimentalist.  Much like the stunning story-telling murals painted aside the buildings of the city in which she resides, Monti showcases her stories of fragility, honesty, and reality within her music but she makes sure to include the rebellious spirit of ceasing to submit within the music too.  Narratives that illustrating ceasing to submit to anything that will cage a free-spirit, be it the past, society, or the music industry.  Her latest collection of songs features that wild at heart persona that the artist conveys so gracefully. 

“This is For You” is sewn together with five songs: 

  1. Cowards Castle
  2. Echo
  3. Shadow 
  4. Hurt
  5. Super Hero

Collectively, these songs explain the theme of overcoming obstacles and coming out on the other side polished, poised, and powerful.  This is my interpretation of “This is For You.” 

The album begins with the song “Cowards Castle” – an Electro-Pop track that surgically blends snare drums and synths with an oboe, cellos, piano, guitars, and a bottom beat making for a virtuoso musical experience.  The song starts out pulled-back a bit and then builds in the same manner that a person’s anticipation builds at the moment they see the need to escape a bad place.  The song tells the story of a lover who cages himself within the framework of his cowardice and how the protagonist is caught between the emotional turmoil, the hook sings:  I hear you talk / false prophet / hold my heart real hostage / house of cards / watch them fall down, down, down, on the tracks . . . your building a cowards castle confusing it with calm, your building a cowards castle this prison’s now your throne . . . your living on the rocks now, rocks now, your building a cowards castle, building it alone.  Monti’s anguished register on this song just paints the whole picture of the premise.  Her dramatic soprano crawls along with the threading melody of elusive synths within the verses, and then modulates strengthening the hooks.  A broad choral effect placed on the vocals of the hook, including backing vocals, magnifies the passion of the lyric.

Towards the outro of "Cowards Castle," an electric guitar introduces itself and just takes the clarity of the track to a whole new level complementing Monti’s piercing vocals 100%.  The overall structure of “Cowards Castle” is Electro-Pop, but Monti’s vocal delivery is pure SOUL.  The song was co-written and produced by Josh Stevens (Calvin Harris, LMFAO) and was released as one of the two singles preluding the album’s drop.  “Cowards Castle” is so exonerating and is a Grammy-worthy track. 

Echo” is the first single released off of “This is For You,” and features a commanding chorus sang by the Hope Generation’s Youth Choir.  This Power Pop track brings our hearts out of the shadows and into the sun relating the story of overcoming adversities and tackling impossibilities.  This theme is brought to life by Monti pictorially singing in the verses snapshots of moments in life where we are our most vulnerable, for example, verse one sings:   some get saved by the bell, and some get promised a prom date, some pass out on a Monday . . . some get left on the curb, some will never be heard, but for me to show up is a victory . . . let it echo down the hallway, cause!   Then the hook sings:  we are, we are, we are the voiceless / we are, we are, we are the reckless, we are, we are, we are our choices, estimated to never make – we are, we are, we are the voiceless, we are, we are, we are the restless, we are, we are, we are our choices, estimated to never make.  Monti’s emotional delivery just carries this tune so well and gives the listener a bird’s eye view into her soul.  You can hear the tears and the hope on every note she utters. 

The induction of Josh Stevens’ vocal adds texture and eclecticism with the co-writer/producer even dropping lyrical notes depicting how our society chooses to medicate, rather than educate, our youths.  In the bridge Monti changes up the tempo and injects a beautiful melody while she delves down deep and brings up passion and empathy and just pushes her vocals and just soars.  The dominant instrumentation of “Echo” is highlighted by a guitar, a pounding piano, heavy electronics, minimal supplementary percussions, and a serious bass drum.  “Echo” exemplifies the voice of the voiceless delivering a pure anthem to those who fly under the radar – those of us who often slip through the cracks of society. 

The third song, “Shadow” is a piano-driven Pop-Jazz track with Salsa influences.  “Shadow” conveys the message of being addicted to the painful pleasure of passion and dealing with the repercussions of lust.  Starting out as a laid-back track and then growing into a full-bodied track, this song incorporates a brass section that just boosts the big melody of the track, as well as an organ that melodically leaves its fingerprints.  On this track, Monti flexes her vocal muscles in all types of ways adding variety and swagger.  First, she appears calm vocally like a lounge singer, then she climbs into a salty lead bringing the attitude, and then she layers her vocals lacing them with growls and purrs.  The hooks display Monti in a raspy register, while she softens up some in the bridge.  The spicy backing vocals and adlibs are reminiscent to 1970s Soul and adds so much girth to the track.  Monti shows that she will not be defeated by emotion; she will be the victor! 

The Power ballad of the bunch is “Hurt.”  This Pop-R&B lament tells the story of how sometimes love turns out to be nil leaving the lovelorn partner confused feeling helpless.  Within the hook, Monti illustrates how one tries to pick through the chaos and try to pick themselves back up again.  The lyrics sing, “you were the angel that’s supposed to lift me up and lay me on a cloud, and if this angel’s supposed to lift me up and lay me on a cloud, why does it hurt?”  The parenthetic bridge supplies more definition to the track’s story.  Monti’s short R&B phrasing fully equips this track with substance and shows the duality of love.

With a title that places the image of a superhero in the minds of the audience, as well as a storyline that is the antithesis to an actual “superhero,” Monti closes her album with a bang! 

Super Hero” tells the story of a person who just wants people to know that they are just a human trying to make it through the daily grind just like the rest of us.  The lyrics depicts this person as being aware of their struggles, limitations, and victories while also making sure to NOT be seen as a role model, savior, or idol.  The lyrics sing, “I don’t have all of the answers . . . I’m not some kind of super hero.  I bleed just like you do; my heart breaks too.  I’m not your kind of super hero.  I’m not the one to save you; let go, I’m falling too.” 

The final track features hefty piano chords, guitars, authoritative synths, and threatening drums.  The core instrumentation of the hooks contain a nicely interrupted, almost pulsated, electronic synthed-out bassline that works so well in interpreting the sketchy pattern of the song’s protagonist.  And Monti’s vocal delivery on this track is beautifully complex with her slow dancing, so-to-speak, on the first verse, then layering her harmonies and unisons on the second verse, and still expanding her vocals on the choruses making for a driven track.  In addition, the boom-boom-clap effect gives the track that anthemic aura that so many songs preceding “Super Hero” had – those songs that have gone on to become a mainstay within our culture – like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” (to name one).  “Super Hero” closes with an echo leaving the listeners hanging in anticipation of what’s coming next from Monti.  

WOW!  if ever the proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” was illustrated perfectly by music, it would be Monti’s “This is For You.”  

Monti literally has taken the most trying times of her life and placed them in a metaphorical bottle sending them afloat on waves of music by unleashing the hurt, isolation, and confusion.  And, the weight of the issues defined within “This is For You,” does not give way to hefty music scores slanted with pleads, a sorrowful collection of music, or a watered-down version of power.  Not at all.  Here, Monti intricately keeps it light by incorporating slick vocals, gritty harmonies, smooth melodies, and modern soundscapes and command to the beat. 

And what she is doing with her artistry is giving the right platform for issues that need a dialog; building a new sound stage to project real music to the masses – a  sound stage that is sure to outshine, and dominate, the stagnate stages that exist in Modern music today. 

Monti shows that there is purpose in passion, and that imperfection is perfection, and she does it all with flavored, flawless, style and TALENT.  She’s MONTI – get used to her!  Il meglio deve ancora venire [the best is yet to come] (Italian) !! 

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