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“HEAVEN” – Isabel LaRosa | Review

With “HEAVEN”, Isabel LaRosa has completed the trilogy that constitutes her debut EP, “i’m watching you” – and it’s as impactful and hard-hitting as you’d expect any electro-pop closer to be.

While the EP is only three tracks in length, “HEAVEN” feels as though it caps off an epoch of much greater substance. LaRosa has described the manner of which COVID-19 penned her and her brother into their home studios during its peak, and I can’t help but feel that the ensuing self-determination amid utter stagnancy helped to inspire the dissociative yet transcendent nature of this song.

The accompanying short film that covers the EP’s narrative of paranoia and dissatisfaction presents a bandolier of low-budget yet effectively symbolic shots that make lyrics such as “floating up, touching the ceiling, how the hell are we still breathing?” all the more so unnerving. “HEAVEN” puts LaRosa front and center as malfunctioning wings prevent her from evading an unknown figure in pursuit, and the listener becomes aware that she is desperately trying to escape that which troubles her – toxic relationships and a misconnection with the present – to no avail.

Sinister energy accompanies her angelic falsetto with every refrain, directly combatting her desire for release. Every time her docile voice finally seems to peak through the darkness, claiming “I think I’m seeing heaven”, swirling and increasingly intensifying synths throw her back into the abyss – the second verse come around, and the listener gets the feeling that LaRosa is accepting her fate as she says “everytime I blink, life is passing.”

Stylistically, her ethereal yet irrepressible sound reminds me of Flume’s earlier craft, and I’m here for it – “HEAVEN” contains certain psychedelic quality that is largely foreign to the realm of electro-pop of the past five years, and her stylistic evolution in years to come is bound to make waves.

As was the case when I reviewed Tom A. Smith’s “Never Good Enough”, my infatuation with this track was only amplified when I found out that LaRosa is still in high school – even while she states that her musical journey began in her elementary days, it remains objectively true that her artistry is still in a stage of infancy. I can only imagine what’s to come with more time to discover her own niche.

“HEAVEN” is a swiss-army knife of a track that can be bumped in the gym just as appropriately as it can nestle into your late-night bag playlist. Give it a spin, and delegate six minutes of your daily YouTube viewership to her short film for “i’m watching you” – she deserves her roses on both ends.

By Aidan Mega

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