Compelling Songs of the Human Condition Form Sevi Ettinger's EP, Salty Water

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Sevi Ettinger Salty Water

Sevi Ettinger is a 15 year old with a heart for her fellow human being’s suffering. And while there are many songs written about the ravages of war, few are written about the suffering of all the refugees on this world, as humans flee for their lives and the lives of their children to start a better life, only to find themselves still living in harsh conditions and unable to fulfill their dreams.

SALTY WATER is an EP album of 4 songs filled and expressed with the long suffering that Sevi has felt for these refugees. The title song, “Salty Water,” was written by her while living in Shanghai, with the aid of an app on her phone as she was moved by the plight of the Syrian refugees.

It doesn’t take long into listening to discover this young artist is a skilled songwriter and wordsmith. The lyrics have an almost conversational feel to them, with a texture that makes you feel as if she is singing to you alone. Done in a style that to me I would categorize as “folkie - new age - techno pop,” it's a little bit like Bob Dylan meets Enya meets Eurythmics.

The music is a little too over produced for me. The first 3 songs have that centered thump-thump-thump techno bass line that is so common in today’s pop music. Sevi also likes to have a lot of background vocals, and three- and four-part harmonies, which sometimes get in the way of feeling the lyrics of the songs. The mixing and mastering of the EP is very good, and on my stereo the soundstage is very much a wall of sound coming from the speakers; placement is clearly defined for the acoustic guitar and Sevi’s vocals, and the drum “thumping” is centered as well.

It is the fourth song on the EP, “Eyes,” where there is noticeably less music going on, where her voice and lyrics really shine through and the instruments that are played are easily heard and appreciated for what they add to the music--a true case of where less is definitely more.

Now don’t get me wrong: I really like this album, and the talent and lyrical prowess that miss Ettinger brings to the table are quite substantial and the subject immensely important. We all have musical tastes as to determine what our style is, but I’m oft remembering the Grateful Dead’s Song “Ripple,” where there is a poignant opening verse that I think of when reviewing and listening to music:

“If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?”

I clearly hear the message and the feeling that Sevi is wanting to convey, and urge anyone to give the EP a listen. It has a lot going for it, not the least of it being the message. I expect we will be hearing much more in the future from this rising star, and I hope she never gives up trying to help us remember we are all in this world together, no matter what part of the world we are in.

Songs:

  1. Salty Water
  2. Live
  3. Don’t Fall Behind
  4. Eyes
Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0