Morgan Saint - '17 Hero' EP Review
2 months ago, Morgan Saint was nowhere to be seen on the major streaming platforms. Everything changed on August 11, when she released 'You', a track that instantly caught my attention. I remember the first time I heard it - I was pouring myself a cup of coffee, and when her voice came through my speakers, I instantly forgot what I was doing. I put the coffee down, ran to my computer, added it to my lists, and searched out any and all information I could find about Morgan Saint - which was next to nothing. I made 'You' my Song of the Week a couple weeks back, and I've had the pleasure since then to shoot her first ever show in Portland, opening up for Goldfrapp at Crystal Ballroom. All of this happened so fast it has felt like a whirlwind, but at the same time I feel like her music has been a part of my life a lot longer than just the past 2 months. When I got the opportunity to get a pre-release of her debut EP 17 Hero (releasing tomorrow 10/13), I was ecstatic, as well as a bit nervous. Anxiety for reviewing a release from one of my favorite new acts is real, wanting to be honest, fair, and unbiased - thankfully, this release made it incredibly easy to do so.
17 Hero starts off with the aformentioned track 'You', a slow-moving beat that is driven by synths and light harmonious bells in the background, begging for head bobs and light swaying. The way that Morgan is able to create a sonic landscape as breathtaking and awe-inducing as this track is nothing short of astonishing. She gives the listener a glimpse into her moody-pop style of production and writing, hinting at what is to come throughout the rest of the EP. Following up 'You' is 'Just Friends', a song that also features a light, minimal beat until the synth-heavy chorus pops with vibrant, colorful keys. It's a bit more complex than 'You', but nowhere near overwhelming. The bridge pairs choruses together very well, as Morgan sings: "Who are we / When we're alone / Who are we when the lights go down?"
The third song on the EP is 'Glass House', which does a fantastic job of vocal layering and mixing, paired with a beat that builds and grows slowly before finally reaching its tipping point after the bridge. Morgan examines how past experiences have shaped who she is and acts now during the chorus: "Shackled to the back of your headboard / Hoping you will fall down into me / Crash into me / Won't you love me now / F***ing love me now." Check out her video for the song above.
The fourth song on 17 Hero is 'For God's Sake', which is the closest song on the EP to a traditional pop song, in production terms only. Her chorus once more shows off her moody-pop influences and great songwriting skills: "You're just a damn fool / For falling to your knees for God's sake / And I'm just a damn fool / For waiting for my fragile heart to break / Should I just move on? Or are we brought together by fate? Should I just move on / Or will you break my heart for God's sake?" This track will hit closer to the heart than others, as I think a lot of people in today's age sit around and wait for things to change in relationships instead of moving on. Thinking someone is your fate or destiny is a tough thing to tackle in song-form, but Morgan crushes this out of the park.
Last up on the EP is my personal favorite, 'New Regime'. When I was going through this song for the first time, it took nearly 20 minutes to take my notes, as I was constantly pausing/writing lyrics, and I even reached out to Morgan for some confirmation of lyrics on Twitter - thanks so much for helping me out, Morgan! The beat on this song is the most detailed and layered on the whole EP, and brings to mind a sense of pure joy and happiness, even if that's not what the song is necessarily about. She sings during the impeccable chorus: "We are old souls / The type to make you overdose on love / We are lone wolves / The type to feel alone in a crowded room / We are lonely / But we are proud / We are outcasts / But we are brave / We don't need nobody else." The beat, lyrics, vocals, are all perfect. The way the beat breaks down around her line; "You're a fan of ripped jeans" activates goosebumps every time. Being an introvert myself, who does in fact feel lonely in a crowded room, helps me relate to this song more than some, but overall it is an empowering, love-yourself song, perfect for anyone going through any type of self-esteem crisis.
After going through 17 Hero 10+ times, I can safely say this will be on repeat for the foreseeable future. The EP has a brilliant mix of lighthearted productions, paired with a couple more intricate and detailed beats that will have you feeling like you're stepping foot directly into one of Morgan's daydreams. Her songwriting skills, paired with her vocal range and depth, should be unstoppable in the future in continuing to enhance and expand on what she's aiming to express through her music. As she performs more and writes and records about her expanded experiences about life following the success of 'You', we can expect her writing to adapt as her career does the same in the busy coming months following 17 Hero's release. Morgan Saint is a new voice, but not one to be skipped over. Do yourself a favor and devote 20 minutes of your time to this - you will not be left disappointed, and will discover something you didn't know you needed.