Review By Tempestas Ink
One need hardly be an expert at music appreciation to point out that some of the very profound traits that a popular number needs to observe and possess include having catchy hooks, powerful lyrics rendered with emotive vocals, standout production techniques – thereby gaining acceptance of the listener – irrespective of age and musical taste. These traits, and more, are respected and well-incorporated in 23 year old singer-songwriter Nina Lee’s ‘Changing Lanes’.
A worthy addition to the three-chord song repertoire (the song uses the i-VI-III progression for the major part of its duration), ‘Changing Lanes’ incorporates elements of the contemporary power ballad and soul, giving the listener a stunning rendition that is about channelizing one’s pain towards constructive fruitfulness, and the yearning to step out of one’s comfort zone (hence the title). The three-chord structure helps in keeping the message on-focus, with variations at the bridge that do the lyrics consummate justice.
The chords apart, it is Nina Lee’s powerful vocals spearheading this Adele-esque anthem. Blessed with an incredible range and tone, which is on full display here, Lee gives us a glimpse into her mind: “I still get scared when the stakes’ so high, But if I’ll sit there, Life will pass me by” is quite the summary of the afore-mentioned yearning to branch out and fly. Complementing the lyrics and vocals well are the stellar arrangement and production (courtesy Adrienne Gonzalez). The piano and strings have been written and mixed together incredibly well so as to make it sound adequately anthemic, particularly at the chorus – as Lee navigates the pentatonic scale.
The entire song graph is nearly equivalent to that of any contemporary pop song by, say, Amy Winehouse or a Billie Eilish, and yet something about it manages to bring in an old-world charm: it could be the counterpoint performed by the strings at the relevant junctures, or Lee’s vocal timbre, or the lyrical themes that have been put to incredible artistry by the likes of Aretha Franklin and Carole King.
With its authenticity and emotional connection, ‘Changing Lanes’ is a surefire winner whose themes have been succinctly summarized in 3 minutes and 25 seconds. The anthemic highs and the subdued lows of Lee’s vocals, propped up by the piano and strings, are well worth a second round of listening to, and maybe even a third.
About Nina Lee
NinaLee is a 23 year old singer/songwriter born and raised in New York City. Nina’s voice has been compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Adele both of whom are large influences in her musical and personal life. Her music encompasses both RnB/Soul and Pop contemporary. Nina studied classical jazz and has been captivated by the voices of Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and Aretha Franklin from when she was young. Nina’s abilities both live and recorded include hard rock covers, ballads, acoustic sets, contemporary and jazz standards, and modern pop. Nina is a prolific songwriter and story- teller. Her authenticity evokes a strong emotional connection by revealing her own struggles, strengths and successes that are moving and experienced by many.