Stairwells review by Kina Grannis

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  • Released: Feb 23, 2010
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
Kina Grannis: Stairwells

Sound — 8
This album is Kina's first full legnth effort. Each of the 14 tracks were written by herself, except 'Back To Us', which was co-written with Rob Giles and Rich Jaques; the producers of this album. Kina's sound is reminiscent of Colbie Caillat's, with her Californian, folk-pop, guitar based tracks. Even after winning a major record contract with Interscope Records (Doritos Crash The Superbowl Contest), Kina decided to go down the independent route, so as to keep complete creative control. I think this decision paid off. This album is very unique; it sounds personal, and is filled with deep emotion and personal stories. As I mentioned, the tracks are maily guitar based, (owing to Kina's fantastic guitar ability) other instrument featured on this album are piano, ukulele, drums, cello, violin, and even a glockenspiel!However, the thing that stood out most to me was Kina beautiful voice, and her amazing harmonies.

Lyrics — 9
Kina is an extremely talented songwriter. Her lyrics are always extremely personal and relatable. Songs such as 'Delicate' and 'The Golfish Song' are particularly emotional, and this shows in her voice. They both adress personal experiances, and Kina says of 'The Goldfish Song': "I wrote it at a time in my life when I was trying to be a better person." The lyrics feature Kina singing 'This matter is mine, don't worry I'm fine, this matter is mine'. The catchiest of the songs on the album, for me, has to 'Strong Enough'. It has a strong melody and is one of Kina's strongest vocals; with her belting out the chorus 'Oh, no its not enough don't touch my hand and call it love.' This is one of my favourite lyrics from the album, and shows Kina's songwriting ability at its height. Another of her specialties is the writing of breathtaking harmonies, escpecially prominent in the song 'Heart and Mind', in which her sisters (Misa and Emi!) also sing. This point is evident throughout the album. The first single 'Valentine' is a fun little song about love, a theme that is echoed throughout in the songs 'In Your Arms', 'Back To Us' and 'Together'; a song inspired by a dream she once had. Overall, I really can't fault her songwriting. The loss of points only comes from the track 'Stars Falling Down', which, lyrically, is great. However, I am not overly fond of the 80's pop feel of this song, with its keyboards and strange little 'do do do's' throughout!

Overall Impression — 8
I think this album is almost faultless, but not quite. Its downfalls are the kind of out of place 80's sound of 'Stars Falling Down' and the placement of Mr.Sun, the last track on the album. I feel that this song is much weaker than the rest of the trakcs, it holds less emotion and doesnt finish off the album quite right. It almost leaves the album unfinished, I would have maybe placed this song earlier on the album, and had one of the more powerful songs as the closing track. This said, it is a very strong effort from Kina. She has a great voice and is a talented songwriter. I would strongly recomend this album to anyone, and it is one of my all time favourites.

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