Folk N Rock
The Sound of the Broken Wand – Tiki Black

I occasionally stumble upon an artist who leaves me utterly astonished, be it their musical skills, songwriting talent, lyrical depth, arrangements, or overall record craftsmanship. Tiki Black’s sophomore release, “The Sound of a Broken Wand,” has had this effect on me. She is an extraordinarily gifted and multi-faceted creative force. Listening to this album was a genuine pleasure.

It’s a masterpiece of creativity, from her operatic vocals and smooth delivery to the warmth of the arrangements, even venturing into some upbeat territory. It’s as if she’s mastered every element of her artistry. I can’t recall the last time I was so taken by an artist and their album. It’s truly exceptional. Now, lets take a look!

“The Debt” isn’t your typical upbeat fare. It’s a contemplative piece that leans towards the melancholic, but not without moments of shimmering beauty. The song opens with delicate piano work, a simple yet effective progression feels like the foundation of this track. A subtle rattling sound emerges before the vocals take center stage. And oh wow, do they ever take center stage.

Her voice is nothing short of mesmerizing. The clarity and richness of the vocals are immediately striking. The use of strings throughout the track is also noteworthy. They create a gentle buzzing quality that intensifies throughout the track.

As the song progresses towards its conclusion, the string arrangement becomes more prominent. Deeper tones are introduced, amplifying the emotional weight of the music. It’s a powerful moment that showcases the artist’s ability to craft a captivating sonic experience.

“The Debt” is a complex and evocative song that explores the delicate balance between obligation and personal freedom. Through evocative imagery and a haunting melody, the song raises questions about the cost of gratitude, loyalty, duty, and love. It’s a thought-provoking piece that lingers in the mind long after the final note fades away.

The song really is about the weighty nature of obligation. It’s a haunting look of the burdens we carry, whether they be financial, emotional, or societal. The song here speak to the feeling of being trapped by these debts, of constantly owing something to someone or something. The song raises questions about the cost of gratitude, loyalty, duty, and love, suggesting that even these seemingly positive forces can become something that bind us.

“A Ghost of Me” kicks off with gorgeous vocal riffing over a soft piano backdrop. It’s a piano-heavy track, but the strings definitely shine through. The melody and vocals blend together beautifully, creating an almost ethereal sound. Now, I feel like you can take this song in many ways, but to me, I see this as a song that tells a story of heartbreak and the lingering presence of a past love.

It’s about the struggle to move on from a relationship that has ended, and the feeling of being haunted by memories. The lyrics speak of whispers, fading breaths on a mirror, and the ache of missing someone who is no longer there. It’s a bittersweet song that captures the complex emotions of a breakup, from sorrow and regret to longing and acceptance.

“The Unscripted” is a song brimming with intense emotion. It’s driven by a strong piano melody and a subtle yet effective bassline. The arrangement is varied with interesting textures that come in and out adding a really depth to the overall sound. The song is the story of a love that is both intoxicating and confining. There’s a sense of surrender, of being under someone’s spell, yet also a yearning for independence.

To me, it seems like she grapples with the conflicting emotions of wanting to stay and needing to break free. It’s an honest portrayal of the push and pull of a passionate connection, and the difficult decision to prioritize personal growth over love’s comforting embrace.

“Nobody Knows” is a standout track that showcases her vocal range and emotional depth. The song begins with an intimate, almost spoken-word delivery before blossoming into a cascade of harmonies. The dynamics of the track are striking, with moments of quiet and soothing sections, punctuated by big and passionate vocal work.

The change up on the  intensity creates an amazing listening experience. One moment, the song is hushed, the next it’s filled with powerful emotion. Around the two-minute mark, the strings make a dramatic entrance, perfectly complementing her delivery. It’s a breathtaking moment that highlights the beauty and complexity of the song. “Nobody Knows” I feel is one of my favorite tracks on this record. It’s just beautiful.

“The Other Woman” is a nice little refreshing change of pace, infusing the album with an upbeat, folksy energy, and even a little big of blues! That right, this sounds just like something that could come out of The Big Easy.. The piano melody takes center stage, giving off a sense of playful nostalgia with a hint of bluesy charm. The track’s blend of influences is evident in its unique sound, showcasing her willingness to experiment with different genres. And it is fantastic!

The lyrics take a surprising twist on the classic “other woman” trope, suggesting that the true betrayal lies within the singer herself. The song explores the themes of self-deception, denial, and the struggle to confront one’s own shortcomings and blaming in a relationship. It’s a clever and thought-provoking take on a familiar theme, delivered with a catchy melody and clever wordplay.

The title track of the album, “The Sound of a Broken Wand” is a song of liberation and self-discovery. It tells the story of breaking free from an illusion, represented by a fairy’s spell. This could be interpreted as a relationship, an ideology, or any external influence that once held power over the her mind.

The broken wand symbolizes the shattering of this illusion, leading to a newfound sense of freedom. To me, I think it express a rejection of old patterns and a desire to live authentically, moving to the beat of one’s own heart rather than the dictates of others. There’s a sense of  The song feels like a celebration of personal growth.

Tiki Black’s latest album is a powerful showcase to her incredible talent and the supporting musicians. The storytelling and lyrics are so moving that it’s difficult to fully articulate the emotional impact they have. This album has stirred a depth of contemplation within me that I haven’t experienced before.

It may sound like a cliché, but this album is truly thought-provoking. The ability to evoke such strong reflection is a rare gift, and it’s something I deeply appreciate in an artist. However, this album isn’t just an intellectual exercise. It’s also a collection of songs that can be enjoyed on a purely visceral level. I can easily get lost in the music.

The duality of this album is what truly sets it apart. It’s a work of art that can be both intellectually stimulating and emotionally immersive. I can’t recall another album that has ever made me feel this way. Really, I mean that.  This is, without a doubt, a brilliant masterpiece that deserves to be heard and appreciated by folks everywhere.

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Scott