22-year-old singer/songwriter Freya Ridings has a voice belying her tender age on debut single, “Blackout.”



Last year, Adele’s “Hello” managed to snare the ears and hearts of nearly everybody, with her plaintive piano chords and raw, soaring vocals. Adele’s ballad spoke to the flip-phone generation, approximating a cellphone conversation with some long lost lover you haven’t spoke to in decades, wondering where things went wrong.

While “Hello” was damn near ubiquitous - and for good reason, with perfect pop instincts and a goosebump factor of 9.7 - it also runs the risk of alienating younger listeners with its daunting time frame and sometimes almost overbearing emotionality. Forget Dad Rock, Adele’s “Hello” would be Mom Rock - somewhere between The Eagles and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. And while it sounds good, a lot of people who might otherwise dig this style of bare nerve pop might not even have been alive as the time in-between phone calls, with Adele.

London singer/songwriter Freya Ridings’ got you covered, luckily, with a voice as pure and as powerful as Ms. Adele’s, but with a slightly fresher outlook. On “Blackout,” Ridings wonders about the scars that love leaves us with, wondering if we can ever return to purity and innocence, over some moody minor-key bass chords. She ultimately decides she can’t, as the experience has become so influential on who she would become, erasing the other would be like deleting her very own self.

It’s lovely stuff, honest and emotional without becoming histrionic. This is less talent show audition than a pure primal expression of hopes, love, loss, and the bittersweet ruminations when they all mix and mingle. It’s almost unbelievable Freya Ridings can feel so deeply, and possess such talent, being just barely able to legally drink, but age is just a number, and feelings are timeless.

We Are: The Guard highly encourage you to give a listen, if you’re looking for some new additions to your tender piano pop mixtapes.

J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.