Laura Cantrell - 14th Street


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“I see you on the street/ You kiss my cheek/ My knees goes weak/ It’s clear you’ve got nothing to loose/ While I’m loosing sleep.”

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It’s easy to get jaded in this game.

I turn the page and there’s yet another Ritalin-snorting, tanorexic ingénue staring blankly back (as the man behind the camera/production booth/label puts words in her mouth and an angle in her come-hither hip). Obviously, I adore them; Lindsey, Ashlee, Hillary – the darling girls are the Ketel-fuelled car-crash of my generation, and I’m more than happy to peruse Defamer et al for the latest shuddering stats and occasional burst of pop brilliance to justify my devotion.

But go looking for innocence? It’s another story. Even their faux-naïve adolescent musings are feedback group-ed to a synthetic aftertaste, strategic angst reading like the twenty-something nostalgia that reveals a song-writer’s hand and self-conscious heart.

Which is why this version of Emily Spray's song moves me so much, with its simple refrain and quiet emotion. The melody charms and soothes, skipping lightly on eager toes in dew-damp grass. Because innocence isn’t a child-like body or barely-legal pout, it’s hope. Hope that these tangential connections we strive for so desperately will actually lead somewhere; that our hearts will be nourished by something more than an iPod Shuffle and new pair of Louboutin wedge heels.

Laura’s voice so clear, the gentle hesitancy and trepidation. There’s such admirable control in the production, such subtle backing layers that when she murmurs “One step, two…” the longing is poignant. And that middle section, with its high, falling ‘ahh’: the one that shivers with tangible sweetness – you feel that to the soul.

Maybe it takes age and experience to give you the bravery to express yourself so sincerely, I don’t know. Bittersweet perhaps, because at the heart of such honest emotion in this song is the fear that keeps her from closing the gap between them. But the simplicity and vibrant emotion here will make you promise, just for a second (before the real world and all its scheming structures flood back in), to live a little braver too.


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