What would happen if Taylor Swift had become a songwriter, wife, mother, a record producer, music publishing/record label executive before releasing her debut album? Well, if that had happened her album might have sounded a lot like Nicolle Galyon’s dynamic debut album firstborn. In fact, there may not be a more dynamic debut album to hit the market in all of popular music and it goes to show why artists in their 30s are just as important as artists in their teens or early 20s. They have LIFE experiences to sing and write about.
Every hyphenate described above is explored in various ways throughout firstborn. There’s an introspective quality to these songs while also being universal enough to put our own personal experiences in the songs. We know firstborn is personal when “winner.” launches the album with a song that’s about Nicolle being her harshest critic but learning enough to know that she, as she is, is already a winner and doesn’t need to keep score anymore or to prove anything to anyone.
“sunflower.” continues the narrative as does “disneyworld.” with its self-aware note about how she worked so hard to get where she is. Hard work isn’t made in fairytales because “the best dreams don’t come true when you’re asleep.” It’s a true statement and one she sings about elsewhere on the record when she’s overcome obstacles in a tough business (or town) hell bent on how women look and like she sings in “boy crazy.,” there are different things expected of female artists and songwriters than male ones. Men (boys) are given every break while women have to work extremely hard to get where they are (especially with second guesses).
“self care.” is as important a song as you’ll hear on a record in any given year with a theme about taking care of yourself, no matter how hard people try to tear you down while Gallyon’s take on “boy.” a song Lee Brice took to #1, has a poignancy here as she’s clearly singing about her own son’s future.
“five year plan.” is a song about the realities that life throws into all of our five year plans. Things like Nicolle’s artist career is interfered by marriage, songwriting career by her children and how those plans have changed for the better because they were interrupted by plot twists which made her life so much the better for it.
Everything about Nicolle Galyon’s firstborn is autobiographical to her but as stated in the opening of this review, it also shows how the best songwriting can often fit into the listener’s life, just the same as the best of memoirs and life lessons learned within them can for the reader. Do yourself a favor and check out firstborn and I look forward to hearing more from the woman who wrote the most-honest and real record of the year.