Up-and-coming artist Natalie Barth released her first EP The Golden Years on August 26th. The Golden Years takes the listener on a journey through her break up, showcasing Barth’s clear vocal tone along the way. The EP takes stylistic influence from many sub genres of pop music, resulting in a fun and personal piece of music.
The Golden Years opens with a quick track named “The Sun.” This song is less than a minute long, but successfully sets up the rest of the album. Barth uses layered harmonies and reverb to tell that she treats people as if they were the sun, bringing that emotion straight to the top. The next track, “Ghost,” keeps that vulnerability. Initially, the track only features an acoustic guitar and Barth’s vocals. She laments becoming a shell of her former self, and doesn’t know who she sees in the mirror anymore. As the chorus come along, the track builds and brings along more sound, before ending with a bit of chaos and cutting guitar riff. Barth moves on to a more upbeat song, “Rent Free” to close out this first part of the EP. Barth explains that she can’t escape the memories of her previous relationship, and her ex keeps popping up in her dreams. As the song gets to the bridge, though, the angst seems to subside, and it feels as if she has accepted that the relationship is over.
The next set of tracks bring Barth to a new phase of her break up. She’s starting to move on from how she felt before, kicking off with “Chew on Glass.” This pop-rock track showcases a purer vocal sound from Barth, with muted guitar chords underscoring her lyrics. Her ex has proposed that they remain friends, but Barth is not interested; she’s over it. This takes her to the next track, “The Fvck Alone,” which is angrier and grittier than anything else on the EP. Barth is done, ready to be independent. She wants to stand on her own, and doesn’t need anything from her past relationship anymore. The track’s chorus is the highlight, with anthemic lyrics and strong guitar chords. She’s grown from the first few tracks, and wants the world to know.
Barth departs from such a heavy pop sound in her final two tracks. “Bad Habits” has clear hip hop influence, with an electronic beat and steel drums that accent her sultry vocals. She goes through the “bad habits” she can’t seem to break, including romanticizing the past. The Golden Years comes to a close with its final track “Homesick.” “Homesick” is a ballad, featuring piano chords that run through the entire piece. Barth sings mournful lyrics over the piano, with heavy reverb added in. The ending is introspective, and Barth comes to terms with the end of the relationship. She knows she needs to let go.
The Golden Years contains catchy and memorable tracks, and is a great first EP for Barth. She is clearly a talented singer, and knows how to showcase her voice. Barth has real potential, and it will be rewarding to watch her grow as an artist.