By Jared Shuff / Campus Editor
Lovers often become strangers, validation is a drug, and we’re all still learning how to be human. These are all messages that Chelsea Cutler emphasizes in her studio debut album “How to Be Human.”
The 22-year-old Westport, Connecticut native shares her perspective on the human condition based on her own experiences. The heartbreaks, insecurities, and doubts that we all feel are shared through 16 beautifully-crafted songs. Filled with ethereal beats and atmospheric melodies, Cutler seems to be telling her listeners that, to be human, we must feel the pain that comes along with it.
Cutler has been described as an EDM singer/songwriter, incorporating different beats and synths into her music. Many of her songs are filled with varying beat patterns and interesting uses of vocal instrumentation. Pitch distortion is used to add layers to her vocals, and many vocal runs are edited to sound like synths. These musical ideas are noticeable in songs like “Sad Tonight” and “I Should Let You Go.”
While her electronic vibes are pleasing to the ear, Cutler knows how to use the power of simplicity to create emotionally-complex music. Her song “New Recording 28 – Lions,” Cutler shares what seems to be a one-take, voice memo style song. A simple recording of her voice and guitar, lamenting on a past relationship. Showcasing the clarity of her voice, the song also encapsulates the somber feelings of solitude that come with remembering severed relationships.
For a song that uses the best of both worlds, electronic and acoustic, her song “nj” perfectly wraps the two together in an other-worldly ballad of loss. In the spirit of twos, the song title has two meanings. Representing both New Jersey and the initials of a past lover, the song calls out to the memories made after the end of a relationship. Building up to an ethereal climax about two-thirds of the way through, it begins to taper down, ending with a simple piano and voice duet.
There are many more songs from the album that deserve the same praise as the ones mentioned above, including a bonus track from a previous collaboration with Jeremy Zucker, another extremely talented artist. I highly recommend giving the album a listen from beginning to end. Maybe you’ll end up one step closer to figuring out how to be human.