REVIEW: Megan O’Neill – ‘Ghost Of You’

Our little Irish lovely is releasing her debut, solo album and we’re so excited for her. Following my review of the stunning Ghost of You single earlier this year, which is also the album’s title track, we have been excited to see what this project would sound like.

It’s a pleasant mix of Pat Benatar sounding vocals, John Mayer infused blues undertones and soft piano, that gives the whole project an 80s soundtrack vibe. I could definitely see several of these tracks being used in movies.

Talking about the album, Megan said;

“I am very excited to share this album with the public – my first full length record and a year’s worth of work. I’m really proud of it as a whole; the songs, the production, the arrangements, the artwork, everything. As Kate Bush said “Albums are like diaries” – so this album for me is a few years’ worth of journaling!”

The singer-songwriter opens the record strongly with Don’t Come Easy… Pat Benatar, eat your heart out. I absolutely loved this one. So 80s and so different for current times. Strong vox and poignant lyrics we can all sure as heck relate to…

Would I have stayed on this path,
If I knew this is how it would be?~
Always five steps forward, six steps back
The good things in life don’t come easy

Let’s Make One Up changes the tone dramatically, reminiscent of John Mayer’s Gravity. I like that Megan has clearly taken inspiration from several different styles with this project. She does the blues such justice, with silky smooth vocals and a simple melody. It doesn’t need flags and whistles. I’ll just be over here pouring myself a glass of red wine and throwing flower petals in my own dang bath. I definitely don’t need a reason to fall in love with this song.

Don’t Say It’s Over is different again, but still bringing that 80s style back. I’m digging it, really digging it. Who doesn’t love the Cindy Lauper feels?! Beautiful, yet heart-wrenching lyrics. Megan has outdone herself with her writing here, then marrying it up with the piano opening and building ballad behind her- genius!

Treadin’ Water sees Megan exhibit yet another style infusion and I feel like I’m laid on a beach. It’s very mellow, like a chilled Ibiza classic. The song sees a couple that are content with just bobbing along, staying afloat, rather than being brave enough to delve deeper into their relationship.

You and I, With the tide
Come this far, afraid to dive any deeper
On the shore wanting more
Drifted out, didn’t know it would lead here.

The most traditional country sounding track on the album, Tell You to Leave, has all the tick box components. Acoustic guitar- check, sassy lyrics – check, break-up girl power goodness – check, and sweet, sweet harmonies – check check check! Move it along boy, she’s through with you.

My favourite on the project has to be the soul soothing Any Younger. Barefoot dancing in the kitchen after a bottle of vino? Count me in! Whenever I hear gospel harmonies, I’m just done. A stunning reminder to take life’s bull by the proverbial horns. Don’t let fear hold you back. We really aren’t getting any younger! This one touched me, in the deep dark hole I keep my little, stoney heart. Excuse me while I just go drown in this one… might take me a few days to re-surface!

As a whole the album is simple, yet effective. No over production, tricks or unnecessary add ins. Easy going, feel good and also heartstring tugging tracks. A lovely mix, of all the best bits.

My only criticism of the record is that there isn’t a flow where the style is concerned. I’m all for mixing up the sound and not pigeon holing oneself, but we go from an 80’s pop vibe, to John Mayer blues and then almost chilled dance. I would have loved Megan to follow the style of Don’t Come Easy throughout, as it suited her voice perfectly and was different enough, from the over processed, mainstream churn-outs. Maybe a few changes to the track listing could have helped with the stylistic flow and sonic differences.

Katie Hutchinson