The Sky Is Falling
Artist: Star Anna
Produced by: Spark & Shine
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Ever since listening to Go to Hell, Star Anna's first solo album after the break up of The Laughing Dogs, I was hoping to hear more from this artist. The gritty vocals reminded me of Pink and the lyrics were emotionally charged and full of angst. I recently learned that Star Anna had released another album, one created even before Go to Hell. Called The Sky Is Falling, the album was actually shelved while the smoke cleared from the recent band break up. I couldn't wait to take a listen.
When I researched this digital album, I learned that it was meant to be cathartic, a way for Star Anna to work through things going on in her life. According to Star Anna, "The Sky Is Falling is an album about getting sober. It's about letting go and moving forward. It's not a Laughing Dogs record and it's not quite a solo record either." Star Anna did get a little help from some former Laughing Dogs and other recording artists, but it's her vocals that really power the songs on the album.
Having read several reviews of The Sky Is Falling, I was surprised by how many spoke of the music or the vocals, but didn't say much about the lyrics. I loved both, but, perhaps because I'm a fan of the written word, I think the lyrics are what's ultimately important on this album. Without those powerful lyrics and their spoken message, the music is good, but not all that special. Couple that with the powerfully emotional vocal delivery of Star Anna and you have one helluvan album.
It all begins with Annie, as the singer begs Annie to put her guns away...to stop looking for a fight...to stop expecting the fight to come. I had the distinct impression that Star Anna was speaking to herself in this moment...or at least, speaking from experience. Easier to Shine starts with some terrific lyrics: "It must be easier to shine / When you're standing in a dimmer light." What I take from this song is that a person in the midst of an addiction often times sees themselves through a fog, believing that things are better than they really are because their vision is clouded by their addiction.
Another stand out track is the country track Love Song, quite an interesting departure for Star Anna, who I view as a mainly bluesy rock singer. The message is pure blues, though - a duet, the singers speak of their lack of belief in love songs and fairy tales, for how could stories like these ever happen to people like them. Another track that grabbed me was Smoke Signals, an explicit track in which the singer expresses her anger at having to listen to know-it-alls who really don't have a clue. The final track on the album, Stranger Than Silhouettes, shows a distinct vulnerability to Star Anna as she looks back on past mistakes, hoping never to repeat them again. It's basically a prayer of sorts, "Love is a lonely road / Don't make me go / Alone." Delivering that last word - alone - separately from the rest of the sentence makes it more poignant, as if the singer is afraid of being alone, but worried that past mistakes will forge a lonely destiny.
Such poignant lyrics, delivered so well by Star Anna and accompanied by great music, and I've only really discussed half of the album. There are five more equally amazing tracks to be heard on The Sky Is Falling. Having listened to Go to Hell and now The Sky Is Falling, I am bewildered as to why I am not hearing Star Anna's work on mainstream radio out here on the East Coast. Wake up, radio stations, Star Anna is an artist well worth the play time and I, for one, can't wait to hear more from her!