A personal take on Vinyl by Kira Kosarin

Here's what's complicated about writing about Kira professionally: No matter what happens, I'll never be able to be the completely impartial journalist that people think that exists. I'll never be able to write an impersonal piece and just lay out cold hard facts and even opinions without that little bit of whispering "I love her so much" to myself as I write. K is more than just another breakout singer for me, and I cannot change that. But while you can't expect from me, as a writer, to completely ignore what Kira means to me, you are more than welcome to read what other writers are saying about her debut single. And the thing is, I'm lucky. I get to know the person who I'm writing about and I get to have more information about her, details other people will never know. That makes my pieces about her unique. If you know my writing at all, you know this is about to be a journey.
First of all, I need you to take a second to think about all of the songs that you know something about the songwriting process. If you're anything like me, you probably watch/read artist's interviews so you know a fair share of information. I was trying to remember which songs I know that were written when the songwriter was younger than me and the answer is, lots of them. 16 and 17 are actually the most productive ages to songs about heartbreak and falling in love. Dang it, I first fell in love when I was 17 and it was a Mess but it gave me four characters, two short stories and one of the best storylines on my debut novel. Now, if you know a song or two that was written when the songwriter was 16, 17 or 18, I want you to think which of these songs were released when the songwriter was that age. Now, you either just got an Young-Justin-Bieber-y pop song, a masterpiece by some musical icon from the 1800s or no song at all. The songs, I'm thinking about took over 10 years to be released and yet, the musician was still talking about how they wrote it at 17. When I was 17 and my music taste took a giant shift (I might write about this soon), it used to drive me nuts when I found out a song was written when the artist was my age. I'd think "Oh my God, the person was my age when they managed to write something so beautiful?". It didn't even cross my mind that most of these artists were now in their 30s. It didn't even cross my mind that they had the double of the time and lots and lots of work and knowledge to finally make the song I loved on the first listen. Because that's what art is. A shit ton of work that goes unnoticed the second someone mentions "talent", "gift" or any other word that makes it seem like you have to be a certain type of person to make groundbreaking art. Now you're probably like "Just get to the fucking point, Giulia, oh my God" but don't worry, we've arrived. Kira was 17 or 18 when she wrote Vinyl and only a little over three years later she just dropped it, built in a way that can only be described as brilliant.
What's so brilliant about Vinyl, you ask? One of the simplest and more complex ways of understanding it is going through what makes the song, the song. The more times you listen to it, the more you catch small details that make your experience with the song better. You can tell that the lyrics tell a story. One so particular than when she said that she wondered if the person she wrote the song about knows that the song was about them I was like "Really, dude? You think they didn't catch that?". But the second you realize the way the composition of the song is telling you the same story or telling you that there's more to the story than you could even begin to figure out - that's when you can't listen to the song the same way. I'm seeing reactions mentioning things like the click of the lighter and the start of the record. Every bit of it will take you to Kira's mind and it honestly goes beyond that. On the interview for KIRA's Official Updates I asked the songwriter (I needed to say that) why she said she wanted us to have our own mental image of the song before she gave us hers and while she explained it better, I can tell ya this: ooooh bitch, she needed to do that.
Let's get back to the thinking about your life now: How many songs you just can't listen to? I've had my share of songs and even musicians completely ruined by past experiences (I'm sorry Cher Lloyd, it's not you, it's the sociopath who I thought was my best friend). To this day I can't listen to 7 Things by Miley Cyrus without thinking about that one crush I had when I was 10 that I was completely sure was the love of my life. I don't think I would recognize him if I saw him on the street, but you bet your ass he's the first person on my mind when this song starts. And when Songs I Can't Listen To by Neon Trees starts, everything comes full circle and all of these stories come to my mind and make me cringe at the people I let ruin really good music for me. And then you get Vinyl. Vinyl is about the songs as something that wasn't tainted a bad situation but as the one good thing in shitty moments.  Vinyl mentions several musicians and bring out their styles with memories, metaphors, direct mentions, lyrical shoutouts and... wait for it... the composition of the song. Those are the artists that inspired Kira in way more songs than Vinyl but for this song in particular they turned out to be more than just the people who influenced her style, they're in the song. They're IN the SONG!!!! You can only notice that by actually listening to it. Not playing it on the background of your daily life, but listening to it completely, emerging in it and coming out someone else. Honestly, listening to Kira's music the way Kira listens to music. Kira is making music that should be listened the way she listens to music.
The impact of a young musician who knows themselves is on a whole different level. With any art, the younger a person is, the most likely they are to change styles dramatically, several times, for a number of reasons. Sometimes we haven't found ourselves yet, sometimes we don't know enough, sometimes we're not in control of the art we get to make. Art is, after all, work (I'll say this as many times as I have to I DON'T CARE) and you can't just download experience and knowledge but you can't take it away from someone either. That's what is so magic about an artist who knows themselves. Knowing who you are and what you've been through and what you can do, leaves a message in everything you do. That's what Kira is bringing to the table with this project. The stuff you're getting in the next few months is her in a much more powerful way than anything else you've ever seen from her. And whatever happens, that notion of self brought on this project can't be taken back. It literally only gets better from here.
I know Kira like the back of my hand (I mean, as much as I can from the point where I'm standing). And yet, I wasn't ready at all for what I got with Vinyl. I had my doubts - if you want me to be honest. When I first heard performances with the back track to Vinyl, I had my doubts. I even thought (like a dumbass) that maybe an acoustic track for the song would be a good idea. And then I listened to the song and SON OF A BITCH, SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE'S DOING. And I knew that already but... how can I put this? She knows what she's doing in a more violent way that either of us could even begin to understand. No other person in this world that could possibly be responsible for this song could do what she has done to it . No one could do it better.
I know I said that a lot already but this is only the beginning. I really wish other reviewers could get what this means, though. Kira Kosarin is only 21. And trust me, as someone who is almost 21, knowing who you are and what you're going to do is like a superpower. It gives you the ability to do anything you set your mind to and even change paths halfway through it. This is only the beginning and if you don't watch that shit closely now, you might miss what eventually will hit you right in the face. This is only the beginning and if you look at it as an endzone (if you look at Kira thinking about what you thought you knew about her before she could speak for herself), you will get surprised by how far she'll go.

Giulia Santana is a Brazilian author, journalist, fangirl and activist — but not necessarily on that order.

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