Album Review: Gabrielle Aplin // Dear Happy

Full of feel-good beats and infectious lyrics, English singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin releases her long-anticipated third studio album, Dear Happy this week (January 17). Having risen to fame with her cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’ in accompaniment to the John Lewis Christmas ad way back in 2012, Aplin has since collaborated with the likes of Nina Nesbitt, JP Cooper and Hannah Grace, and has been teasing a new album release since ‘Miss You’ in 2016.

Reservedly upbeat ‘Until The Sun Comes Up’ is the albums opening track. Understated and simple, it’s slow electronic rhythm builds with emotion, emphasising the pre-chorus lyrics, “do you want to get lost, go waste our time // lose this city skyline”, and nostalgically transporting listeners back to a youth of exciting first love and night time drives.

Dear Happy is a record consumed with love, and a perfect vehicle to express it. From the heavy bass lines and funky riffs of ‘Strange’, to the piano synth fusion of ‘Nothing Really Matters’, Aplin expresses her intense experiences of love in a series of musically unique ways. Playing with tempo and genre, Dear Happy places the listener in the shotgun seat as Aplin navigates the tricky roads of her romantic journey.

Aplin also documents the heartbreak and devastation that parallels a relationship and it’s breakdown. ‘My Mistake’, a downbeat, mournful track, takes time to reflect on past transgressions, and admits the fear that’s sparked by anxiety and the loss of familiar feelings and routine.

But it’s not long before Aplin picks herself up, the catchy piano riffs, steel drums and strong voice of tracks such as ‘Miss You’ and ‘Like You Say You Do’ show her rising from the flames, and demanding she’s given more from those to whom she gives herself.

An entanglement of highs and lows, loves and losses, Gabrielle Aplin guides you on a musical and spiritual journey throughout the fourteen tracks of Dear Happy. With songs that enable you to celebrate, wallow, and realise your self-worth and independence, Aplin has created a truly special album that will be a fitting soundtrack to your best times, and exactly what you need at your worst.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Dear Happy will be released on January 17th via AWAL and her own label, Never Fade Away Records. You can purchase the album, and find out more about her next UK headline tour here.

Author avatar
Kate Eldridge

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