In a world where you’re competing with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen when it comes to major players within the folk genre, it’s probably easiest to just take a step back and hone in on your individuality. For every Bob Dylan song, there are countless imitators, and that guy wrote a lot of songs — but before Bob Dylan, there wasn’t really anyone doing the whole Bob Dylan thing. Derivative art, especially in the last decade or two, has spiked and has ultimately resulted in people being copies of copies, which… I would say is not very good!
Thankfully, every once in a while a new artist joins the fray and isn’t afraid to take a stab at honing in on a new sound or genre that completely reinvents the current landscape, and music is generally better off because of it, overall. Lisha Sebastian might not be completely reinventing the concept of indie folk music with her debut album Sworn to Secrecy, but with the album’s lead single “Best We’ve Ever Been,” the genre is arguably the best it’s ever been, at least within the last few years.
“Best We’ve Ever Been” is a fantastic single from Lisha Sebastian, her attention to music composition is exquisite and undefeated. It makes sense that she went to school to study music, and is currently finishing her undergrad studies up because there are some truly impressive harmonies and song structure choices on this single that feel far more mature than most debut singles. The lyrics do an interesting take as they dwell in self-defeat before getting reinvigorated, and the overall song never loses itself in its own thoughts.
Sebastian brings her A-game not only to the musical side of things, but her prose is impeccable and the entire ecosystem of the single feels like a perfect balance. “Here I am once again, heart heavy with pain. Regret subsides in a tide of memories, a bird lost among the trees.” It’s a deep verse to lay on the audience, but the follow-up gives the track a nice emotional punch-up that brings things full circle: “When the storm arrives, we will fight together, the moon shines, glows forever and ever. Together we can win, this is the best we’ve ever been.”
It’s impressive to come across a 19-year-old musician already so focused and intent on creating art for the sake of art; most young musicians are interested in just about everything but the actual act of making music, so the refreshing wave of singer-songwriters with impeccable work ethic and skill are more than welcome amongst my playlists and albums on repeat.
Sworn to Secrecy has yet to grace my ears in full, but the lead single is an impressively strong first foot to lead with, and I have no doubts in regards to Lisha Sebastian’s skills as a musician and songwriter overall. She’s doing the folk legends proud by staying on her own path and not just remaking Mumford and Sons for the fiftieth time and calling it folk, and I don’t see Sebastian going away from her own plans anytime soon.