Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
On Half About Being a Woman, Caroline Smith's first album without her band The Good Night Sleeps being billed, she attempts to separate herself from the "indie rock queen" persona that was cemented with earlier releases Backyard Tent Set and Little Wind. "Over the last year I began to embrace that being a strong, confident, opinionated woman is something to be proud of, not subdued," Smith says. "I have to embrace where my roots are and stay true to who I am: an unabashed fan of 90s R&B, pop, and neo-soul." While these influences make themselves known on the record, they are more incorporated with her previous songwriting style rather than eschewing the folk-rock sound altogether.
That being said, Smith's smoky voice lends itself well to an R&B and soul rooted record, and a healthy dose of catchy pop hooks make the album an enjoyable and digestible listen. The latter of these styles is manifested in the first three tracks: "Bloodstyle", "Magazine" and "All That I Know Is (I'm Your Baby)" all possess breezy beats fused with nods to Smith's penchant for Beyoncé, TLC and other 90s R&B acts, and unequivocally mimic the characteristics she admires from them: "fun, and a little bit cheesy." From there on out, the tunes are decidedly more soulful and smooth, especially the title track, "The One Thing", and excellent album closer "Child of Moving On". "Walking Off Strong" and "Buy Me Something" are sassy anthems with a sharp sense of humor that elucidate the title of the record and one of its main themes: self-acceptance and growing into yourself. Overall, Smith effectively channels her inspirations from soul and R&B music into something that is well-spoken and concise (at 31 minutes, the album isn't by any means a commitment to listen through).
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