Kelly Hoppenjans is currently residing in Nashville making her way in the vibrant music scene there. She has released her third album “Ok, I Feel Better Now” a sort of coming of age album with a hint of I’m doing this my way sprinkled in. Within the ten tracks she outlines what she sees as a human being walking this world, as well as, being a woman in the entertainment industry.
The album opens with “Portrait of Your Life” and “If I had You (Love Letter from a Padded Cell)” two songs that open the door to the album and have you settle in for the listening. Two tracks that musically remind me of a few folks like Liz Phair or The Traveling Wilbury’s. She and the band are doing something with the sonics that let the lyrics breathe. Because beyond these opening tracks, and with them, what Kelly is setting off to say is to this humble listener important. If we take the third track, and don’t worry we won’t go track by track because in the end you should listen to this, “Growing My Hair” this song is for lack of a better statement women’s empowerment or the empowerment of the self. She says, “I keep cutting off my hair just to cut it all off.” I love that there is a lot to unpack within this song, and I could be completely wrong about empowerment as well in a way I hope that I am because beyond meaning the song rocks and she and the band created quite the expressive rock song with this.
Through the rock songs though there is also this gleam of folk or country story telling that shines on the album. The sounds change, but the words again are important. “Glitch in My Head” is a song that expresses that for me. From there Kelly sets off into a quieter side of the record. Where her voice and lyrics resonate off the proverbial walls. She manages a lot of styles within this record it gets jazzy, poppy, rocky, and folky.
All these styles that reside within her make for a great record. I do not know what I was expecting upon my first listen, but after now currently on my fifth listen as I type I find myself digging it. Maybe this record is a coming to age, but that is not for me to decide. What I like to think I know is something good, and I like the ten tracks Kelly has put together here. Sure, some of them are poppy, but I don’t mind that at all because there are also so many other elements at work within the same song that it all comes together in the end as an enjoyable listen. I recommend anyone to listen to this record and check her out when she comes to Cincy this weekend. She’ll be playing at Urban Artifact this Saturday evening the 9th. Do your musical soul a favor.