Album Review: Rhys – Stages

rhys stages

Rhys serves pop perfection on debut Stages
Young pop talent from Sweden surfaces online all the time, but not often do they build themselves buzz as instantly as Rhys did with her debut track ‘Swallow Your Pride’. She released the ballad back in 2016 and had two successful uptempo singles the next year with ‘Last Dance’ and ‘Too Good To Be True’. At the start of 2018 she had us all quiet for a minute (or four actually) when she shared the intense and heart wrenching break up track ‘Maybe I Will Learn’. Two singles later her debut album Stages is finally out!

The now 20 year old Rhys had a long build up to this moment, so it’s not surprising that 6 of the 11 tracks on the record were already released before. It makes Stages a testament of the growth she experienced in the first few years of her career. At the same time I do envy the people that haven’t heard any Rhys song before listening to this record and experience the whole body of pop brilliance in one go. Eleven songs might be considered a short album after all the single releases, but the result is an excellent pure pop album without a filler track!

Rhys goes from uptempo pop banger to stripped back ballad and she does it all with the same confidence vocally. The way she moved us with her voice on ‘Maybe I Will Learn’ and ‘Swallow Your Pride’, she repeats on the gorgeous and empowering closer ‘Spite My Flaws’, telling an ex-lover that despite any flaws she may have, she is irreplaceable! And so is that warm and soulful voice of hers! She cautiously flirts with some R&B rhythms on the laidback ‘Doomed’ and uses the soul in her vocals in full force on the bombastic production of ‘On My Own’.

For the lovers of the swinging bop, Stages has got a lot to offer too. The album starts out with the marching rhythm of the insanely catchy chorus of ‘You’ll Never Know’, a straightforward break up anthem. ‘Last Dance’ on the other hand accepts the end of a relationship, by concluding over a massive hook: ‘we gave it every goddamn chance!’ On ‘Too Good To Be True’, which should have been her first international hit, she gives love another chance: “I’m beginning to believe it’s possible, to have someone like you without the pain”. Out of the new tracks, ‘Better Be Over’, is probably the most instant, radio friendly, hit worthy track with a massive chorus that settles in your brain after the very first listen.

Rhys delivers a no nonsense pop album with contemporary productions, relatable lyrics about love and break ups, impeccable melodies and flawless vocal work. All the qualities of the album come together nicely on her latest single ‘Starfish’, featuring fellow young Swedish talent, Felix Sandman. The track has a smooth synth pop production with international appeal and a soaring chorus you can sing along to after just a couple of listens. The perfect pop debut!

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