There is something inherently risky about an artist releasing a sophomore album with a drastically different sound to their debut, and taking this risk has often led to the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’. However, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt has managed to deftly navigate these potentially choppy waters. By doing so she has delivered an incredibly solid and listenable second album. Her first album, 2014’s Peroxide, was a heavily acoustic guitar-driven poptastic ode to youthful exuberance. However, her recent release has dialled back on the guitar and embraced lyrical depth alongside a significantly more varied sonic profile.
Conceptually, the album is a masterpiece. Nesbitt guides the listener on a journey throughout reflecting on what can only be described as her quarter-life crisis. She starts with capturing her struggles with growing up and her new-found fame in ‘Sacred’ and ‘The Moments I’m Missing’. It then moves onto a clearly affecting break-up in ‘Best You Had’. The album’s first half is heart-rending but avoids being simply an exercise in self-pity.
The album then changes tack with the most pop-influenced song ‘Somebody Special’ acting as a palette cleanser for the album’s decidedly more positive second half. This half focuses on the rebuilding of life following a failed relationship with ‘Empire’ and then on to finding someone new and moving on in ‘Last December’ and the eponymous ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’ being the album’s final flourish.
There are also some less heavily romance-inspired tracks, including perhaps the most genuinely affecting song on the album, ‘Chloe’. This track is an introspective look at one of the harshest realities of growing up, friends beginning to start families and the fear of drifting apart as a result of being at different stages in life.
This emphasises one of Nesbitt’s greatest strengths as a songwriter – her ability to expertly zero in on the universal worries of her contemporaries. This is also demonstrated in ‘Loyal to Me’ in which she laments the current online dating scene with the relevant and rather brutally truthful line, “Hope you never let those pictures send, He’ll only go show them to his friends.”
In addition to the changes in lyrical style, there are also some extremely interesting and unexpected musical influences. The R&B influence on tracks such as ‘Loyal to Me’ and ‘Somebody Special’ is a radical departure from her previous work, but a very welcome one nonetheless. There is also a newfound use of stripped back piano peppered with an 808 beat on both ‘Sacred’ and ‘The Best You Had’ which provides the perfect backdrop for her emotive lyrics.
Although the eclectic blend of genres makes for an interesting listening experience, there is a slightly jarring feeling between some of the more radically different tracks on the album. Of course, this doesn’t detract from the individual merits of the songs, but with such a strong lyrical concept running throughout the album the tonal differences are perhaps more noticeable.
Overall, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change is an inspiring work that has clearly honed Nesbitt’s musical dexterity, paving a way for significant hype for her future career.