From the very first chord, “Bell Jar” by Angela Sclafani is filled with hazy 70s nostalgia, but with the clean production of modern day. Had you told me this was the main theme to a 2000s indie film that took place in the 70s, I would have completely believed you.
I was drawn in immediately from the first lyric— a reference to Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Then I was surrounded by a pool of earthy, distorted guitar tones that roared underneath Sclafani’s sugary sweet vocals. The juxtaposition between the two widely differing sounds gave the song (what I can only describe as) the musical equivalent of a vignette around an old photograph.
The percussion section, alongside the rhythm guitar, is the true driving force of the track. It marches forward full steam ahead, pulsing and pounding at the song’s climax. The catharsis from the percussion takes this from a lighthearted indie pop tune to a rock song worthy of windows down and screaming the lyrics down the highway.
Sclafani’s vocals are bright with a down-to-earth edge akin to the character of Miley Cyrus’s. Though, the higher tone her voice sits at reminds me more of Vanessa Carlton. If you were to meld the two together, the beautiful and ever-intriguing result would be Angela Sclafani.
Angela Sclafani is a singer/songwriter based in New York City, and has three independently released EPs under her belt. She earned her BFA in Drama at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and has composed for theater, film, and more. To add to her repertoire of accomplishments, she was first place in the Great American Songwriting Contest not once, but twice. In addition, she was a finalist in the Unsigned Only Music Competition in 2021 as well as the 2020 John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
Written by Jess Ward