Musings on a muse: Why Lianne La Havas is like lilac

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“Is your love big enough?, the debut album from London’s Lianne La Havas, begins with a deceivingly upbeat tempo. By the fifth track, “No room for doubt,” Havas reveals what’s behind that sweetly sultry exterior: a heart aching tale of love lost. Her style toys with jazz, indie folk, and unquestionably the blues. She delivers an impressive croon that seems effortless. She’s got soul. The song that drew me to her was a live performance of “Tease Me” and the one that sealed the deal was “Forget.”

Her album and its story moves much like the many phases you may encounter during a break up. The initial shock that’s dreary, the false sense of security in feeling better, the frustration and anger, the unsuccessful post flings, the truth, the despair, and the healing. Havas and her trilling takes us through this sentimental journey with such ease and grace. She flirts with us while being coy on some tracks like with “Au Cinéma,” then she’ll be gut punching honest with us like with “Gone.”

This album and her quasi-folksy-quasi-soulful style makes me think of a Lilac perfume. Maybe it’s the way in which I found it–at a farmers’ market, unexpected and in love immediately. I think it’s also worth noting that it’s the simplicity of the fragrance. This perfume is nothing special. It’s a modest artisan blend made of mostly a lilac essential oil. While her album, in concept, is nothing new. Yet, both seized my attention and earned my interest.

The perfume did so in the fact that some days smelling like nothing more than a fresh cut (mildly spicy) flower is enough. You don’t always need musk and tuberose and expensive alcohols. Havas has done so in being unabashedly real with us. She’s a young woman with a broken heart and she knows she’s not the first nor certainly the last.

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