Published Apr 04, 2018Haley Blais's Let Yourself Go is an exhalation of young adulthood anxieties. On her bright and dulcet EP, Blais cycles through a bunch of the insecurities you feel when you haven't figured out your place in the world. But Blais has come out the other side of the murky times she sings of, so the anxieties of her songs are delivered confidently and with a smirk, as if to say, "I'm fine and you'll be fine too."
Fortunately — or unfortunately depending on the situation — technology has made it easy to document everything, Blais's ups-and-downs included. On "Remove Tag," Blais shudders at an unflattering photo she finds of herself online and screams into the digital void. But with a ukulele in hand, Blais softens the painful experience, and by song's end, the sunny folk-pop vibe almost transforms the cringe into laughter. In contrast, "Best Thing" is a downcast and wistful tune as the photo in this song is a keepsake and a bittersweet reminder of an absentee person.
On the last two tracks, Blais considers her past to steady herself for the future. On the surf-pop "Seventeen," Blais sings, slightly distorted as if through a Motorola Razr with bad reception, "Feelings make me anxious so I'll keep them inside," a delicious contradiction of all the feelings Blais shares throughout.
The highlight of the EP, "Small Foreign Faction," is a catchy, unvarnished pop track. Here Blais sings of becoming immobile when the world is at your feet and you don't know where to step. But that was then; Let Yourself Go is Blais's breakthrough. Although she sings, "I never wanted anything and I never got it," on "Small Foreign Faction," you can be certain that Blais now knows what she wants and is reaching out to grab it. (Independent)