By: Brianna Bigelow
Artist: Mieka Pauley
Album: The Science of Making Choices
Released: June 26th, 2012
Record Label: Self-released via Pledge Music
Produced: Geoff Stanfield
If there ever was a time for powerful female singer-songwriters to give fame a shot, the time is now. Boston-bred Mieka Pauley is taking full advantage of this opportunity in her new album “The Science of Making Choices.” Writing with the power of a woman scorned, Pauley goes places few other songwriters do. Brazenly honest lyrics, gritty vocals, and daring acoustics drive the tracks from this album into your brain and hold them there, playing on repeat.
If you find yourself a fan of bold performances with a strong reliance on acoustic instruments, then Pauley is just for you. Lyrically similar to performers such as Mumford & Sons, Fiona Apple, and Alanis Morrisette, followers of this style of music will find themselves enthralled with Pauley’s album. However, if you’re looking for upbeat lyrics accompanied by modern synthetics, then Mieka isn’t for you.
Raised in New England, Pauley is familiar with a simpler, more northeastern way of life. Brought up in a Catholic household, religion finds itself seeping into many lyrics on this album. Adding an unconventional twist to a traditionally religious storyline, Pauley introduces listeners to her roots with Appalachian foothill lyrics in “Whiskey is the Devil, Daughter.” The rousing bridge scolds Oh, what I need is the garden and I promise/ And I would do anything just to get back in/ Don’t tell me the Devil brought you the apple/ Daughter, when it’s you/ It’s you that bit in.
From beginning to end, “The Science of Making Choices” serves as warning cry for all the men who have done Pauley wrong. From track to track the lyrics serve as an outlet for her brooding emotions. Nothing is too personal for Pauley; nothing is hidden behind closed doors. These lyrics grab the listener’s attention and don’t let go.
The heartbreaking verses of “Never $%#@ a Woman That You Don’t Love” tell the story of regret. These lines ring true to any listener who has woken up after a one-night-stand and realized their mistake. In the second verse Pauley sings If I had to guess where you would be/ I’d say in the shower washing off bits of me/ And witnessing your mistake spin ‘round the drain/ My disgrace just spins ‘round my brain. Pauley draws from her own experiences to connect with her audience of twenty-somethings. Listeners will appreciate the honest and digging lyrics, making this a soon-to-be beloved single.
Thirty-two-year-old Pauley surpasses songwriters her own age by writing stouthearted lyrics that portray the thoughts of a vengeful woman well beyond the experience of someone in their early thirties. Her song “Marked Man” tells the story of an unapologetic woman tracking a man who has clearly done her wrong. This track features the steady percussion of Pauley beating her fist against her guitar, complimenting resilient lyrics such as It might get you off, get you right with God/ But you’ll never be right with me.
If I had to find a snag in the smooth flow of this album, it would be that the album is hindered by a lack of variation in song pacing. Each song, one after another, is Pauley’s slow-burning testimony to those men who have hurt her. This is not to say, however, that the songs lack energy or fervor. Listening to the album all the way through in one run may be challenging at times, but talent is talent. Pauley’s skill is unquestionable and unmatchable.
The true strength behind “The Science of Making Choices” is the distinct style that Pauley has developed in only her second album. No one can rival her unshakable honesty and powerful vocals. If you haven’t picked up this album yet, then put aside some serious time to be taken on a journey of pain and retribution. Do not try and blow through these tracks in a single sitting––give yourself time to let the lyrics sink in and find their way into your memory. Let yourself feel the emotions that these songs portray, and get ready to hear them on repeat throughout your subconscious.