In the two years since her last EP Kool Aid: Sugar Free (Acoustic,) Katelyn Tarver has been busy crafting a number of singles that we would soon come to find on her November 12th album Subject To Change.
With aspirations of breaking into the entertainment industry, Tarver made the move from Georgia to Los Angeles at age 19. She took a risk leaving her family and their candy factory behind, but it has ultimately paid off nicely for her. Not only has she become quite the breakout artist, but Tarver has had a notable acting career for years. If you’re in your late teens to early twenties, you may remember her as Jo Taylor on the Nickelodeon series Big Time Rush and she has since been cast in other shows like Ballers and None of the Above.
Falling into the indie-pop genre, the 32-year-old singer-songwriter has released four EP’s since 2011. She is recognized for delving deep into her thoughts and emotions, both of which are nothing short of vulnerable and soul-stirring. Subject To Change lends itself to the same ideals.
Kicking off the 11-song collection of work is “Back To You.” To be quite frank, this track is sad. It’s emotional and it’s raw. With lines like “you don’t know that pain till you live it,” the feeling that she is telling you about a real experience she’s had is present. A story about losing someone but knowing deep down that she’ll find her way back to them is shared.
Four songs were released as singles before the full album came out: “Shit Happens,” “All Our Friends Are Splitting Up,” “Nicer” and “Hurt Like That.” “Nicer” differs from the first track in that its tempo is faster and the overall vibe leans a bit more towards her indie-pop categorization. Additionally, it’s currently the album’s most-streamed song. Apart from the lyrics in “All Our Friends Are Splitting Up,” the actual music is phenomenal. There’s a beat that starts to pick up in the middle and it’s precisely what makes the song so special. There’s a point later on when the beat stops, forcing a fixation on the lyrics at that time which allows for a complete meaningful understanding.
“Shit Happens” delivers an interesting juxtaposition between the song’s message and Tarver’s tone. The message is that, at times, shit just happens so stop trying to make it make sense and she says “let me save you the suspense.” Her ability to make this sound pretty and elegant is what is so compelling. There is a little bit of a richer, deeper sound in the music, similar to the likes of Phoebe Bridgers.
Although this album is written in a fervor, songs like “Year From Now” and “Hurt Like That” provide some dimension with a more optimistic tone. From feeling more like classic indie-pop to sounding like she has something to look forward to rather than something to reminisce on, Tarver’s development is evident. She’s gone from being upset and sad about someone to now wanting them to experience the emotional rollercoaster that she went through. “Hurt Like That” would make for a great breakup anthem.
Tarver’s constant evolution not only as an artist but as someone experiencing life as a young adult should be taken as an example to follow. She gets personal with this album and the last three songs finish her story off impeccably. “At The Same Time” and “Glad I Got You” feel soft and acoustic, almost as if you are sitting in the same room and she is singing directly to you. Taken place is the transition from singing about immense pain to being happy that she has someone.
Subject To Change balances an emotional walkthrough of life in your twenties with hope for something greater in the future. Tarver’s range as an artist is exemplified thoroughly. With “Downhill From Here,” if you’re looking for a song to cry to, this one is perfect and captures a lot of the emotions many of us feel.
In an Instagram post, Tarver said “I wrote “When I Leave Home” about my family and the lump I always get in my throat when I’m hugging my parents goodbye at the airport. If you’ve listened to the song, maybe you’ve noticed that it sounds like there’s a group of people singing with me in the outro and that’s because there is! And it’s my actual family! This was very sweet and special and as you can see by this video, almost impossible to actually accomplish.”
Tarver will be embarking on an album release tour in December in addition to a nationwide tour in March and April 2022. We learned a lot about her in this collection of songs and it’s safe to say that anybody will relate to at least one of them. As a multi-dimensional artist who has a lot going for her, we look forward to following along on her journey to further success.
Listen to Subject To Change now.
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