One thing I always really love about music is the way that a certain aspect of a song — not even the song as a whole — can take hold of your attention and make you want to listen to the entire thing.  From there, it builds, and obviously you always learn to love the song from there, but there’s always that one thing where you’re like, “God, remember how good that was the first time I heard it?”

That’s how I feel about Star Anna’s voice.

The girl can sing.  She has, honestly, one of the best voices I’ve heard in a very long time, and she backs it up with genuine, real lyrics, and a great overall alt-blues feel.  Think Lucinda Williams meets Grace Potter with a little bit of the whiskey-tinge of Janis.  Her voice is the most stand-out quality of the whole album, and she has the kind of voice that could make anything sound good.

But let’s talk about the songs, which are definitely not slouches!  The album opens with “For Anyone,” a semi-grungy blues rocker that reminds me a lot of young Fiona Apple.  This leads into the title track, “Go To Hell,” which is a lot like a neo-“House of the Rising Sun.”  These two songs, along with “Younger Than,” which is a powerful tale of a messed-up childhood, and “Power of my Love” all keep in line with the album’s overall alt-blues qualities, and you can really tell that lyrically there is a lot of emotion that Star Anna is putting out there.  It’s great, evocative, and really personal, which makes it even better.

The album does stray from that path a little in some places, though.  “Mean Kind of Love” has a really great, old-school country vibe to it.  “Come Up to the House” is a Tom Waits cover, and you can definitely tell by the honky-tonk style of piano it has going on.  When I first heard it, I imagined it being played in an old bar by a man wearing a bowler hat, not in a twee kind of way, but in a great kind of way.  The album’s closing track, “Smoke Signals” is straight-up rock and roll.  We’re talking rough, raw guitars, distortion, and a very balls-to-the-wall attitude.  I think these tracks really show Star Anna’s range as an artist, and give the album a really cool well-roundedness.

My two favorite tracks are “Let Me Be” and “Everything You Know”.  The former is a great blues song about betrayal and the return of a past lover, with a lot of lines about moving on.  The latter starts as a quiet piano-driven track with some atmospheric background noise, but the beauty is somewhat shot through when the refrain hits and she finishes the lyric.  “Everything you know is gonna die,” she warns, which is kind of a punch when you recognize that yeah, that’s really true (but nobody wants to think about it).  The song has a beautiful “drop” I suppose you could say, with a crescendo of guitars and drums kicking in.  It’s almost uplifting, like you want to run through a forest or something.  I think it’s amazing.

Star Anna is definitely going to be one to watch.  Her vocals can’t be beat, and lyrically she is very good at conveying emotions that everyone has felt at one point in their life or another.  This debut album is a great introduction to her style and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Check out Star Anna on the web!  Go to Hell drops September 24!

Overall Score
97 %

Powerful vocals drive this great debut from a Seattle blues-rocker.

Vocals 100%
Instrumentation 95%
Lyrics 95%

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Self-deprecating fundraising lackey, avocado connoisseur, pop culture aficionado, latte-drinking liberal elitist.

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