Instagram informed me that Twinnie was going live. It was an album launch party with a difference. With a sofa instead of a stage, and an audience loud with comments instead of cheers, the release of Hollywood Gypsy was being celebrated with a long since opened bottle of wine. Not quite the occasion she had in mind I’m sure, but an insightful tour through the album’s songs nevertheless.
And what a set of songs they are. Each one is a hit record in its own right. Twinnie has really laid herself bare, pouring out heart and soul to create something that is deeply personal yet universally relevant. ‘Type of Girl’ feels like the perfect song to open up the album in this sense, for it displays the complex and often contradictory emotions that make for “the impossible job of loving me”. Twinnie spells it out immediately, pulling no punches with her honest and raw lyrics that continue into ‘Better When I’m Drunk’ and ‘I Love You Now Change’.
After ‘Chasing’, which continues the theme of romance and relationships, Twinnie then turns inward, to herself, with a title track that is simply spellbinding. Telling her story of “grow[ing] up in between two worlds”, she explores identity and family in such a compelling way, exuding a confident clarity that is captured most sharply in the final notes of a rousing chorus. ‘Superhero’ then turns the reflective mood up to ten with a sharp and shrewd commentary on the nature of love. Here, as well as in hit single ‘Social Babies’, which follows, Twinnie displays the kind of wisdom many of us can only dream of possessing.
Her social commentary on our relationship with social media is particularly resonant, wrapped up in a catchy chorus that sticks in your head long after it’s finished.
‘Daddy Issues’ is without doubt the most country-sounding record on an album that is heavy on pop production. It doesn’t feel out of place though, perhaps because it continues the strength of storytelling and lyrical prowess to be found throughout this album. This is exemplified for me in a line from ‘Lie to Me’, a pure ballad that includes this gem: “Stare at the stars upon the roof/ While we dance around the truth”. Soaked in Twinnie’s captivating vocals, it is simply gorgeous. In fact, the whole album is. You would be hard pressed to decide on a favourite tune. As Twinnie herself admitted, it is like asking to choose between your children. Each one is different; each is special.
We may not be able to share in the experience of a live set right now. But make no mistake – Hollywood Gypsy will still have listeners dancing around their living room. A very special debut album.
Review by Gaz Williams