Misty Miller has come along way since 2011. Back then, she was strumming her ukulele and singing sweetly about boys. Now, at eighteen, she’s got an electric guitar, a stronger voice, and a helluva lot more to say. Next To You is her second EP release this year — and if you read the title and thought this was only a collection of love songs, you were wrong.
Inspired by the ups and downs of a relationship, the songs cover a range of emotions: From frustration with an unresponsive partner to her adoration of them. While the first two tracks (“Next To You” and “Anything For You”) have moments of similarity — with both being heavy on the guitar and pop influence — the remaining three allow her to experiment with sound. This includes the ballad “Wait”, in which Miller tries to convince her love to remain with her, rather than see those who wish them harm; and the folksy closer “I’ve Got Everything”, complete with acoustic guitar and shakers.
But the emotional peak of the record is undoubtedly “Tea In China”. The powerful lyrics capture the vulnerability that comes with a relationship — the shared fears a couple must face and overcome together: ‘You drink the best tea in china / you wear your spots like a tiger / but I know / babe, where you’re coming from’. Backed by Miller’s expressive instrumentals, this is easily the most accomplished song that she has released this year. The lo-fi production of the record truly stands out here: all frills cut, all bones bared.
Ultimately, this is a record of intimacy and intensity. As an artist, Miller continues to grow and improve with each release — from her first album in 2011 to her two EPs this year. Her music has more honesty, passion, and raw talent than most artists her age; and with so many years ahead of her, I’m expecting great things.
Review Score: 7.3 out of 10.
Next To You will be released on May 19th, but until then, you can listen to a few of the tracks here: https://soundcloud.com/misty-miller