Bright, Beautiful and Bold
Striking out on her own, Mary Lambert delivers her truth in a queer-pop package for her EP, Bold. Best known for her Grammy-nominated collaboration with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on “Same Love,” Lambert chose to produce this EP independently. She created a Kickstarter campaign and raised 68 thousand in a matter of eight hours. The singer previously used this campaign method to fund her debut EP, Letters Don’t Talk. Bold serves as the follow-up to Heart on My Sleeve (2014), where fans fell in love with her certified Gold rank confessional, “Secrets.” Combining her slam poetry background, struggles with mental illness and the freedom to be authentic, Lambert produces a joyfully complex record.
The album begins appropriately with “Do Anything,” Lambert’s break-up song to Capitol Records. She sings about the comfort of being able to “do anything” she wants in life, paired with the uneasiness of knowing she “could’ve stayed and been fine.” Next, “Lay Your Head Down” is poetry set to music. The ballad is in the chorus Lambert sings, but the beauty comes from her spoken words. She lists everything that makes her cry: from Sarah McLachlan talking to animals on her TV to forgetting her meds and wondering if she’s more herself without them. The album perks up with the synth pop track, “Hang Out With You,” written and produced by Tobias Karlsson. The next song sounds like a combination of Jewel and Colbie Caillat. Toby Gad’s production is bubbly, and Lambert’s vibrato gives it a folky edge.
The singer duets with her mother on “Love Is Love.” Lambert’s mother wrote the song and complements her daughter’s solid alto with a soft soprano harmony. “Know Your Name” is one of Lambert’s favorites on the EP, which is probably why it makes a double appearance on Bold. “It’s so fun and upbeat. My girlfriend actually mixed the track and made a remix. It’s just a super cute, super gay, dancey love song,” Lambert gushed in her interview with Inspirer. The song boasts “Call Me Maybe” vibes as the singer tells of a romance that could be great, if she only knew the person’s name. The Reverb Junkie (Michelle Chamuel) remix doesn’t take away from the original’s integrity. Instead, it tweaks the chorus and bridge for a flirty dance track to close out the album.
Lambert is unafraid to sing about her mental illness and homosexuality. Finally free to spread her wings, Bold is a crescendo beginning with a ballad and flourishing to a powerful pop finish. The poet-turned-songwriter is not only authentic, she’s Bold.