Chelsea Cutler, a singer-songwriter from Westport, Connecticut, came onto the music scene in 2015 with the release of a song called “Anything for You.” At that point she was only 18 years old. Now at 22, Cutler has released a number of pop singles, countless collaborations and a two-part full length album in 2018, “Sleeping with Roses.” Her sophomore album, “How to Be Human” came out in January and is Cutler’s first solo project since signing to Republic Records last year, according to an interview with Billboard.
Cutler has one of the most distinct voices on the charts today and beautiful lyricism to boot. Her genre falls somewhere between pop and dance music, but “How to Be Human” reveals a raw, vulnerable artist. The album, written and recorded by Chelsea herself, is about self-discovery in your 20s and the heartbreak and joy that come with it.
The first track, “Sad Tonight,” is one of the strongest on the album. It turns a traditional break up song into an upbeat dance anthem. The song is about friends trying to help you heal from heartbreak but wanting to “stay in and indulging in your sadness during a break-up,” according to Cutler’s Billboard interview.
“You’re all over my mind / I try to find a new muse / Can’t believe what you did, no / And I don’t really want to / I got thoughts in my mind / And they feel so loud / Could pretend that I’m fine but / I don’t really know how,” Cutler sings honestly.
“I Was In Heaven” is a meaningful, raw ballad. This song is beautiful, but a little haunting. Cutler revealed to Billboard that she included all of the original demo recordings on the track, and that it is one of the most emotional songs on the album.
“And I swore that I couldn’t breathe / When you walked away from me / And I’m so scared to watch you grow / Without my hand for you to hold / ‘Cause I swore I would be your soul,” she sings.
Another brutally honest, intimate song is “NJ.” A slow, dreamy ballad, “NJ” feels rich with emotion. She sings directly to a past love with those initials, recalling memories, dreams and experiences they shared together.
“Is it over? Does it has to be over? / Wanna share a cigarette, I want your head on my shoulder / Wanna fight and fuck it up, I wanna sing you to sleep / Wanna smile when you kiss your favorite spot on my cheek / I wanna tell you I’m sorry for the mistakes I’ve made,” Cutler sings on the track.
One of my favorite songs from the album is “New Recording 28 – Lions.” When I first heard it, I thought it might have been a Spotify live acoustic recording, so it’s aptly named. “New Recording” feels extremely vulnerable and intimate, as if you’re looking in on Cutler during a private, personal moment that was never meant to be seen. The lyrics are poetry, and Cutler sings them slowly and with raw emotion. The only sound accompanying her is a soft strum on her guitar. She sings about missing someone but still wanting the best for them, and it’s bittersweet heartbreak encompassed in four minutes and 24 seconds.
This album is an excellent representation of Cutler’s talent. Each song showcases another genre and style she has mastered. For a young, new artist, Chelsea Cutler shows a promising future. I think she offers a great pop alternative to the Halsey’s and the Dua Lipa’s on the scene. Her collaborations with other young, 20-something artists, like Jeremy Zucker and Quinn XCII, are great examples of the potential she holds in her musical career. If you haven’t heard of her yet, take the time to learn Chelsea Cutler’s name.
Julia Markfield is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.