Stephanie Phillips has a singer-songwriters DNA sound. From her way around an acoustic to the poetic lyrics that are glamorous yet simple, she writes and sings stories. Her latest album Carousel of Hope is the follow-up after What Have I Lost? From an introspective album that spoke about circumstance, she now breathes freely above the water, and embraces positivity. A gift that all of us need, let’s listen to the fables of life.
Lifeline is the preface of this wonderful album. It is the first ounce of creativity, the incipience. It is the possibility of another chance, something that guarantees continuity in these times. With Stephanie’s bold voice and MCKNZ supporting her, this is more than a perfect start this album could ask for.
The social distance. 6 Feet is a slower song, yearning for closeness when the distance becomes too much. With such relatability, an emotional chord progression underlays while the lyrics become apparent and clear. New Kind of Love brings in Jack Zaferes & Kenny Johnson to support Stephanie Phillips. Traversing through the emotions during Covid, she now arrives at love. It is virtual, but very much real. Owing to the moment we were locked in, the percussion and gentle instrumentals break open the vault for the soothing sound.
In the range of emotions
Father’s Day treats every dedicated protector as the valiant gatekeeper they are. Stephanie misses her father, and this is a sweet and emotional inscription celebrating that special person. The truth behind and between relationships is as apparent as it would be. In this time, the intangible is not lost, Stephanie Phillips brings her journal to work as everything as would be.
Lately is a song about reminiscing, and it is like a visual kaleidoscope. It brings memories to full circle, and sitting alone at home, that is what we did. Nothing could be taken for granted, and every moment that passed mattered more than the one that was coming. Stephanie has a salient skill of writing lyrics that are specific, but are vague enough that it could be about anyone. In the world. And that is who she brings together on this album.
As we trespass through these personal moments, it feels like we’ve felt them all. In songs like Stronger than Iron and Falling for You, you retract to this human you had become in isolation. Everything seems more real, and amplified, relations became the gold centre. A song like My Favourite Hobby is about a special kind of love, something that only grows when alone. As this leads to the title track, you are drawn to the theme in strange, abstract ways.
Down to the heart
You went to the fair, and everybody was always there. Someday, you escaped this necessary, imposed solitude. The fair was at a standstill, but the glimmer of hope was at the slow spinning carousel. This is the steadfast emotion that Stephanie Phillips has honed in on. She has seen that carousel in every person-something that can never be taken away.
As you slowly approach Nature’s Concerto, you’re taken aback by the quality of lyrics, music and emotional transparency in this album. Stephanie Phillips is a songwriter, but she writes of art, inspired by life. When you do reach Twenty Four Years, you witness that change in perspective-like life has different meaning. It didn’t matter if the meaning was the same, your outlook changed.
I would thank Stephanie Phillips for documenting that perspective in this brilliant way. It truly is a transcendental album, for her as well as the listener. With honesty and poignant clarity, she brings art to life. It’s times like these, they become one. Ladybird is the first movie that came to mind listening to this, a tale of learning and the rich imagery associated with it.
The tales would be perfect for a biography of Stephanie’s life throughout Covid, but she might not be a shutterbug. If someone was to make a film about compassion and learning in those times, this album is the cinematic one to choose!