Nina Nesbitt - Life In Colour

by Ellie Turner

Since her first album, Nina Nesbitt has been creating EPs in order to figure out what type of music she wants to make for her sophomore release. In my review of her first EP, I argued that Nesbitt was making an unnecessary move from her initial “acoustic-pop sound to pure pop.” It felt as though she had released something she didn’t fully believe in, filling half of the EP with remixes of the same track. With Life In Colour, however, Nesbitt has cracked it.

Back at the beginning of summer Nina asked her Instagram followers to send in stories about their lives, stories they wanted her to sing about. Having received thousands of messages from fans across the world, she went through every single one and picked the five that touched her the most – resulting in something truly beautiful. Each of the five songs are named after the city they originated from, and each contains a really touching story. Every single track is stunningly written, showing the extent of Nesbitt’s talent. Her writing (and accompanying vocals and self-produced instrumentals) are so convincing that you would not be blamed for thinking that she was drawing heavily on her own experiences, no least those of someone who she had never met.

Opening track Ontario throws the listener straight into Nesbitt’s more electro-pop sound. She makes full use of her personal Niightwatch studio, with the synthesised bass and electronic vocals becoming the main feature of the song. This is probably the weakest track lyrically on the EP due to its particularly repetitive chorus, but it is an effective opener nonetheless. The electronic production does slightly take away from Nesbitt’s much-loved and undeniably impressive vocals, so fans who were previously interested in her bubbly, acoustic sound may be left disappointed. A similar theme runs throughout the album, with this synth driven bass and electronic vocals. This doesn’t mean it gets boring, though. Manchester, written about a fan’s struggle with depression, makes use of the equipment by adding more of an echo effect to Nesbitt’s voice. The result is a beautifully haunting, ethereal sound, one that really fits with the feel of the lyrics. Los Angeles is perhaps the track with the heaviest reliance on the electronic aspect and it works really well. In this track she manages to draw a greater focus on vocals by minimising the backing.

The stand out track on the album for me is Brisbane, as a result of the extremely emotive lyrics. Written about a girl who lost her dad at the age of 15, the song features lyrics such as “I’m terrified that those wrinkles by your eyes will become blurry lines in a couple of years from now” and “15 good years, we couldn’t be much closer”. It is a stunning showcase of Nesbitt’s song writing talents – when I heard it performed live there genuinely wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The synthesised beat works well with the slower pace of the song, which should reassure those who were fans of Nesbitt’s previously more emotional tracks such as Hold You and The Hardest Part. Even with her new electro-pop sound, she can still make listeners shed a tear.

Nesbitt has moved away from her Ed Sheeran related acoustic image. She has produced a piece of art which allows her to interact with her audience, displays her impressive vocals and her artistic talent and has the ability to emotionally engage people, all at the same time. Whilst pop is generally (and wrongly so) associated with trivial lyrics, Nesbitt has taken the genre and added her own emotional and self-aware twist. With every last chord being written and produced by herself, you can tell that she genuinely loves her new sound this time around. Unlike after the release of her previous EP, I’m happy to say that I’m looking forward to hearing her next album once again – and you should be, too.