In-your-face, super-charged, emphatic pop-country. That’s how you could describe the highly-anticipated debut album from Twinnie, who’s become a real force to be reckoned with on the British scene in recent years. Backed by BMG in the UK and BBR in the US, with the likes of Jamie Kenney, Nathan Chapman and Dave Barnes at the helm on the production side, it’s no surprise that the album sounds slick, country radio-ready, and at a standard where Twinnie can compete with the heavy-hitters in Music City.
It’s an album that represents all facets of Twinnie’s charismatic personality. Self-deprecating in many areas, emotionally-heavy in others, it does exactly what a debut album should do, by offering a window into what the artist is truly all about. For the most part, it’s an incredibly confident, loud collection of songs with a huge pop influence running throughout. She’s unapologetic when it comes to both her sound and her subject matters; expect lots of artificial drum tracks, infectious pop melodies and earworm hooks.
“I really hope this brings you some joy during this chaotic time, and I hope you feel all the feels I did when I was creating it with my friends.
Blood, sweat and a lot of tears went into making this album. I agonised over every minuscule detail, lost a lot of sleep, but I can honestly say it was absolutely worth it!”
Twinnie’s self-deprecation and honesty creates that instant connection and comfort between artist and listener, and adds a warmness to her bundles of charisma. We see that right from the off with ‘Type Of Girl’, where she admits “If you come into my world, there’ll be magic mixed with a little madness I’m dramatic”, before revealing all about her wild side in ‘Better When I’m Drunk’. She’s such an open book and doesn’t hold back whatsoever, which is always such an appealing aspect for a new artist. The same can be said for the album’s most playful and most categorically ‘country’ song, ‘Daddy Issues’, which gives us somewhat of an insight into Twinnie’s love life, and really shows off that loveable humour.
‘Chasing’, based on her “unhealthy relationship with love”, provides one of the album’s highlights; a really effective fusion of country instrumentation with an almost EDM-like rhythm. The chorus is undeniably infectious and that thumping backbeat is born for Twinnie’s energetic live shows. It’s got the feel of a radio single and would certainly be at home on the Radio 2 playlist, where she’s garnered a lot of support to date.
The title track ‘Hollywood Gypsy’ is the anthemic centrepiece of the album and, as has been clear in her shows in recent years, it’s the best song in her catalogue for both album listening and live performances. There’s a euphoric feel to the chorus; an outpouring of pride for her wild roots, and a sense of acceptance of her rather non-conforming lifestyle, whilst paying tribute to her family and where she came from. The gradual growth of the track, and the resulting energy is a real high point of the album and one that will stand the test of time in years to come. Like Ashley McBryde’s ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ and Kip Moore’s ‘Guitar Man’, this is Twinnie’s signature song, bearing her heart and soul for the world to see.
Aside from the thumping pop anthems, which do make up the large majority of this debut album, there are some slower, more reflective moments which show off Twinnie’s vocal ability more effectively. ‘Superhero’ is a moment of real depth and quality, and certainly the most powerful track on the album in terms of raw emotion and vulnerability. “I used to fly, now I fall, I guess I’m human after all… I know love has no place for superheroes.” Another stripped-back moment is ‘Lie To Me’, a gorgeous piano ballad with heart-breaking lyrics, which Twinnie sings the hell out of. These tracks are where the true quality of her artistry is given a platform to shine, and something we need to see more of on future albums.
Overall, ‘Hollywood Gypsy’ is a bold statement of intent from a confident, assured artist who has certainly stamped her authority down. It’ll please fans who have fallen in love with her lively nature over the last few years, and it’ll no doubt provide her with quite a few potential radio singles in the coming months. More of the softer, lyric-centric Twinnie wouldn’t go amiss, but this debut is about as representative of an artist as you could possibly find. We just need some warm summer afternoons out of quarantine to crank these up loud on a long drive!