Nina Nesbitt @ Manchester Academy 2
Nina Nesbitt originates from Scotland, originally from a folky type of pop style which has now evolved to more of a pop sound. I was lucky enough to see her for the second time, this time with a whole second album under her belt.
Nesbitt opens the show with “Somebody Special”, a song that has been out for a while but still remains timeless with its quirky sounding guitar sounds which distinguishes it from other, similar sounding pop sounds, “I’ve been losing myself lately, but you’ve got me thinking maybe I got potential to be somebody special”. It reminds us that it’s important to be with someone who always reminds us how special we are.
“Sacred” is the opening track of Nesbitt’s successful second album, “The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change”, of which the general premise is going through your twenties and all the emotions that come with it, from heartbreak to melancholy. “Sacred” is a piano-based song about getting tired of having “a lover who I’m only gonna love when I’m wasted”, wanting something more “amazing”. It details the general progression of growing tired of going out to wanting something more substantial.
“Colder” is one of Nesbitt’s more recent singles, detailing the progression from the young, naïve and innocent view we often start off with in regard to falling in love transforming into “when you can’t believe it’s over, that’s when you get a little colder”. It’s an honest, intimate interpretation of situations we may find ourselves in, such as “crying on his shoulder”, but there is nothing to be ashamed of as we can “make things right” by reminding ourselves that not everything we do has to be based on cynicism, but perhaps hope. The chorus is catchy and definitely the standout part of the track.
“Chewing Gum” is played next, a single from Nesbitt’s last E.P. of the same name before her label unfortunately dropped her. The song’s narrative is based around being single and flirting with people but not wanting anything serious, transformed into a metaphor of “I’m just chewing gum until the flavour’s gone”. Nesbitt is interactive with the audience throughout, giving equal amounts of appreciation to us all which is rewarded back with cheers and woos.
The next song, “Psychopath”, was part of Spotify’s campaign titled “Louder Together”, coinciding with Women’s History Month. The song also features Charlotte Lawrence and Sasha Sloan, who are two other artists you should definitely check out. Luckily for us, we get to see it sung with the opening act Lauren Aquilina. Their voices went heavenly well together! It’s a song detailing the fallout of a relationship, in which the partner states the lover is “crazy not to take” him back, which she responds with “you’re a psychopath”. It’s an empowering anthem, reminiscent of the message that songs like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” promote; they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a good message.
“Empire” is one of my personal favourites from the album, the narrative being taken from the dreams we find ourselves having as children that become less and less possible as we grow up and realise our restrictions. Nesbitt passionately assures us that it is our mindset that will help us reach our goals, which is right. Whilst the song is intensely personal to Nesbitt’s experiences, “I haven’t played a show in way too long” and “Everyone in this game, we lie too much”, the overall story is not so far imprinted onto the experience of only promising song writers that myself and the audience can take a lot from it.
Next Up is “Things I Say When You Sleep”, a beautiful, unguarded and poignant tale of finding things hard to say so waiting until your partner is asleep to say them, “like I love you”. This track in particular really showcases Nesbitt’s song writing abilities as well as her made-for-stage stirring voice. The piano really helps to evoke sentimentalism from the lyrics, “I think about you on the train, love how you say my second name”.
“Last December” is a song that has its origins from various gigs but was never formally released until Nesbitt was “harassed by you guys on twitter”. Whilst the album version is different, the tale of heartbreak and being unable to let go is profound. It is also remarkable to see Nesbitt switch from a poignant love song to a harrowing break up one all about the same partner, “You lit up London in my eyes”.
A small rendition of “The Apple Tree” is played from one of Nesbitt’s earliest E. Ps, with a loud, audience appreciation from her most dedicated and long-term fans who shout out every word, pitch perfect! Nesbitt’s humble and surprised smile is wonderful to see as well.
“The Hardest Part” has perhaps formerly been known as Nesbitt’s most heart-breaking and requested song, but perhaps this title has been taken by “Is It Really Me You’re Missing?”, when the desperate realisation occurs to you that the person you are chasing wants “just anybody” and won’t miss you until “it’s really me you’re missing”. Nesbitt’s vocals are really highlighted here, showing her voice is far from bland, it’s outstanding and emotive.
Perhaps the most favourite song from Nesbitt’s fans, including myself, is played next: “Love Letter”. The juxtaposition of the title sounding like it will be a love song is amusing after listening, as it details going out with someone who “wanted other girls, then you wanted commitment” and “you’d sit at home, toking on that marijuana”. It’s the happy part after the break up, when you realise you were dating a bit of a loser and perhaps already have someone better lined up. The almost flamenco sounding guitar along with the chorus pumped with hooks make this a performance to remember.
“The Best You Had” is a piano ballad, and in Nesbitt’s mini-monologue before her performance, she states it is about stalking your ex and finding out they have a new partner who is seemingly better than you in every way, “she has a degree in law”, but you want to think you are still the best that your ex will ever have, perhaps out of the truth, jealousy or a bit of both, “It’s okay if I am still the best you had”.
The “final” track, which Nesbitt herself states will not really be, but she is continuing a usual, performance tradition of leaving the stage then appearing once crowd noises have reached fever pitch. “The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change” is a song that pretty much sums up feeling around the age of 22 (I speak entirely from personal experience), with standout lyrics such as “There’s people I’ve met, people I’ve left and some that didn’t make it here” and “Crazy that I was stood right here just five years ago, with the heat on my skin and a lover who’s now someone I don’t know”. It reminds us that it’s okay to be haunted, but the sun will still come up and the seasons will still change.
We are treated to a cover of superstar Britney Spears’ legendary song “Toxic”, which is met by applause and loud chanting. Nesbitt’s falsetto is best displayed here, she adds a new, emotional side to the well-known pop song.
“Loyal to Me”, widely reported as an anti-f**kboy anthem is the last song and perhaps another fan favourite. It details all the things you should watch out for, and “if you have to question is he loyal to me, well then he’s probably not and you should probably leave”. It’s a fun and relatable pop song.
Check out the rest of Nina’s album “The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change” soon!