Review: Melanie Peterson, “We Got This”

Melanie Peterson - We Got This

We recently debuted the music video for “Back To You,” the latest single from Toronto, ON singer-songwriter & actress Melanie Peterson, taken from her brand new six-track EP, “We Got This,” which is officially released today.  Originally from Saskatchewan, but now calling the Toronto beaches her home, Peterson teams up with producer Mitch Girio and GRAMMY-nominated engineer Joao Carvalho (July Talk) to deliver this stunning new collection of original tunes.  “This is an album of love songs, though maybe not your typical kind of love songs,” Melanie shares. “These songs are about the struggle to love and be loved, and how difficult that can sometimes be, yet also, how worth it.”

Opening with “Back To You,” we once again enjoy this familiar, sassy folk-pop toe-tapper, which just like Melanie’s previous single (and closing track, with hints of a peppy Erin Costelo sound), “Tightrope,” very quickly paints an impression of the positive attributes of new love and happiness.  Delve a little deeper into the EP, however, and you’ll quickly find that Peterson has a much larger selection of brushes and colors at her disposal, her palette confined to more than one musical easel, switching gears, emotions, and narratives across all six tracks. 

As the up-tempo beat of “Back To You” fades, the pace drops noticeably with an eerie synth intro to signal the arrival of “Do You Want To Be Loved” – a touching synth & strings ballad in which our protagonist battles the romantic expectations of falling in love against the fearful expectations of rejection and wasted time.  “We ride the subway, read the signs / Your leg pressed against mine / You are where my gaze always lands / I am in your hands,” she recites during the bridge, subconsciously willing the strength of her expectations to quash and conquer the fear of lingering doubts.

Melanie Peterson

Peterson revisits lingering doubts with the title track, offering a slow, simmering tale of the emotional fight of questioning and seeking to rescue a dying love: “If you don’t care, why are you still here? / If I’m not the one for you, why hold me like you do? / If it’s time, time to move along, why do we talk and talk? / Until our voices are gone / Baby let me say one more thing, let me try to ease your mind / ‘Cause you mean the world to me, and love is not a waste of time.”  Expressions of sadness come courtesy of her own soft acoustic guitar, accompanied by incredible heartfelt strings that develop during the tense moments: “If you’re waiting for me, to turn and set you free / You’re gonna wait a long, long time, ‘cause I want you by my side / Baby put your suitcases down, and reach over and draw the shade / Because I wanna remind you now of all the love we’ve made.”  Strings that soothe gradually in the hope of reconciliation, yet leaving it up to the individual listener to determine if this relationship is saved: “Step away from the door, and hold me tight / ‘Cause I don’t wanna fight any more / Baby, we got this / we got this / we got so much love it hurts.

Along with the title track, “Tailspin” is another stunning highlight tucked away in this collection of songs, and definitely my personal favorite here.  Adopting the perspective of a close and concerned third party to a male friend in a toxic marriage, Peterson truly shines as she narrates her unspoken concerns: “She tears you down, rips you apart / Then builds you up like she’s got a heart, huh / I listen when, you come to speak your truth / And wonder why she don’t love you like I do.”  Wearing her heart on her sleeve, is Peterson the most vulnerable here as the overly-concerned friend and confidante, or does such a distinction fall to the belittled male friend trapped in his marriage? “You’re going down in a tailspin / You don’t know where she ends and you begin / You’re going down, but I will be there / To pick up the pieces, and lift you up in the air,” recites Melanie, this chorus remaining at the discretion of the listener to interpret as unspoken thoughts, or the ever-hopeful verbal leap of faith. “My love, my love, my love / I will fix you / My love, my love, my love / Be your parachute.

“My hope for this album is to reach as many people as possible who feel the same way I do, and I hope that folks find the songs relatable to their own romantic experiences,” Peterson offers in closing. “Further, with this album, producer Mitch Girio and I took another step away from folk and moved closer to pop – building on what we started with my previous folk-pop EP, ‘Two.’ We added some lush string arrangements that I think really put the icing on the cake.”  To coincide with the release of the EP, Melanie plans to hold an online release party on November 30th at 8pm ET, broadcast from the ‘socially distant’ confines of her living room, via Facebook Live, with Melanie (vocals/acoustic guitar) joined by long-time bandmates Peter Collins (bass) and “Lucky” Pete Lambert (drums).

Preview and buy the album on Bandcamp.

Photo Credit: James Dean

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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