Stephanie Quayle is an artist who first came to my attention when I heard ‘Dancing with Dolly’ for the first time. The song grabbed me instantly. The track is the perfect melting pot of high quality vocals, enchanting lyrics and a nod to the great singers of the past. It also serves as the ideal opening track for Stephanie’s new album ‘Love the Way You See Me’.
The album is an interesting one in the fact that Stephanie certainly knows how to record an album with variety. Many albums move along at a similar pace, but ‘Love the Way You See Me’ changes it up brilliantly. From the tuneful opening track, Stephanie moves to ‘Winnebago’, a track that you’ll certainly want to play loud with the windows down – a summertime track. This is a road song that namechecks place after place and you’ll love the way the singer shouts ‘Come On!’ – you can see why Stephanie released this as a single this year.
Then ‘Selfish’ moves to a more soulful groove. You’ll go from moving fast to the previous song to a slow sway and listening intently to every word of ‘Selfish’. The highlight of the entire album for me is ‘Ugly’ which is strong praise indeed, considering the hit opening song of the album. This heart wrenching number is simply beautiful and has it all – lyrically brilliant, with Stephanie’s voice outstanding (see the video below to enjoy this number).
In some ways the opening 4 tracks act as a microcosm of the entire album as Stephanie continues to mix it up throughout the rest of the tracks. Other highlights include ‘You Should Have Told Me’, which is a high tempo, great chorus number about a love that was missed out on. ‘Post It’ is a song about a man completely the opposite to the guy in the previous song – a real good love song, where for once in a country song, the singer finds the perfect man. The title track sees the singer looking in the mirror and seeing the opposite of what (the same?) adoring partner sees. “Make me feel like I’m beautiful, when my hair’s all a mess, with no make-up on”.
‘Shoebox’ is a heartfelt song, where the shoebox under her bed contains memories from a 4-year relationship – the singer wrestling with the decision as to whether to keep it or let go.
The album ends with “Second Thoughts”, a duet with Lucas Hoge. I love the way this song is set up. Lucas Hoge has the stage to himself for the first half of the song, before Stephanie takes over the mic. They come together for final minute and their voices merge perfectly. This is a great ending.
‘Love The Way You See Me’ is a fine album. If you’re familiar with Stephanie Quayle, you’ll already know she is something special. If not, then she is the best singer you’ve never heard of. If this is a sign of things to come, expect MUCH bigger things from Stephanie in the future. A fantastic listen.
Review written by Nick Cantwell