Monday 23 April 2018

Lily-Jo - Unstoppable EP

Unstoppable is the new EP from Lily-Jo, the follow-up to last year's Good Enough. The EP has been written in the time she's not touring the world with LZ7 and building her mental health self-help resource The Lily-Jo Project, but many of the themes from the latter shine through brightly in this collection of five songs that are about making yourself feel unstoppable and knocking down the barriers, both internally and externally, that stop you achieving your goals and being happy.

"Sometimes I get the feeling, which way do I go, get back to the real me" opens up the EP on Great Unknown, starting with an electronic backing that's understated in the first verse allowing Lily-Jo's beautifully expressive voice centre stage. It's about taking yourself out of your comfort zone into "the great unknown" of the song's title. Who Are You? continues the searching theme, asking the first question "are you searching for the answers you can't find?" as the song builds to an euphoric chorus, before dropping back into a more subtle verse which poses a number of questions to the listener that will have them looking inwardly to answer the repeating mantra of "who are you?", one that needs to be answered for someone to understand what makes them tick and be happy.

Beautiful Scars is about encouraging someone to open up and face their own demons, through the means of mutual exploration of the issues that they face, as per the old adage of a problem shared is a problem halved. "I can show you mine if you can show me yours" starts off a lyric that sets the tone for the rest of the song whose title holds the message that having emotional scars doesn't make you a bad person or in some way not normal. The fact that the message is wrapped up in a soaring beautiful wave of voices makes it even more powerful.

The positive message is continued with the EP's title track, it's a song that encourages others to better themselves, have confidence in their own ability and achieve their goals and not let others put them down and barriers get in the way. It talks of breaking out of the constraints placed on the individual by societal norms and expectations, encouraging to aim high and reach goals - "you are not your history, now it's time to break the mould, step into your destiny."  All this and it's wrapped up in a glorious pop song. Can't Take It Away is very stylistically different from the other songs, but thematically it's very similar, about preventing people from raining on your parade and dampening down your achievements.

The EP succeeds on both levels it aims to. A collection of great pop songs, diverse in style, with an unequivocal message to believe in yourself and to ignore others that might try and put you down is a rare combination in a world where pop music talks about girls and boys and relationships of one form or another. For those that take the time to listen to the songs and the lyrics, it's an inspirational set that should make people focus on the positives and accentuate them.

Lily-Jo's website can be found here, where you can buy the EP. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Her online mental health resource The Lily Jo Project can be found here.

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