There’s a doe-eyed girl in all of our broken hearts; and sometimes, we need an album to match that somber mood –albeit with an ounce of self-respect. Singer/songwriter, Katie von Schleicher, embraces the bad news and in turn, generates compelling and accessible tunes for all those grey moods. Her latest album, Shitty Hits capitalizes on the dreary feelings by adding a rock spin with an added hint of blues. Perhaps appropriately named, the album is by no means a breakthrough, but it’ll surely put Katie von Schleicher’s name on the map.
Shitty Hits says it all in the most upfront way. The album isn’t some shining star, the album is even prone to some heartbreaking tropes –the wispy-airy voice for instance. Maybe just the obnoxious overuse of claps. Simultaneously, it’s a slew of catchy but dramatic, soulful jams. Schleicher’s got a lot of charm –in her lyrics and driving each melody.
The album begins with “The Image,” a string driven, bluesy, ode accompanied by claps. There’s an ounce of Black Keys in there somewhere, cut with a little Broadway, big-stage atmosphere. The song follow’s up with an eerily similar, “Midsummer.” Remove the bluesy vibe, add in more of a Radiohead overcast, and maintain the clap and you have von Schleicher’s second hit. At first the album seems golden, but with track one and two sounding like high-low energy rehashes of one another –it’s a tad lackluster.
Shitty Hits progresses and the longer we go the cheaper the feelings begin to feel. It’s a likable album with some catchy melodies, but somewhere around “Soon,” I wanted to throw in the white flag. Katie von Schleicher takes on a slow wailing, admitting her feelings along slow keys. Maybe this is the point of calling an album ‘shitty hits’ –but “Soon” is an odd parallel or even copy of Father John Misty’s “When You’re Smiling and Astride Me.” And it’s off-putting.
Not beating around the bush, Schleicher has a lot going for her –she manages to push out some seriously strong vocals and carries herself well through the album. Potentially, she could write some fantastic hits, but what seems promising at first grows more exhausting the longer the album progresses. Schleicher leaves you begging for something fresh and beyond just ‘sad-girl in dive bar’. I don’t want to write the album off completely, admittedly, it was likable at first –but it lacks replay value. Schleicher’s tricks grow more tiring and her voice cannot be the only defining feature of her music.
Of the more redeemable moments, “Life’s a Lie,” stood out for its more upbeat key lines and Schleicher’s husky vocals. The song almost seems more natural. Schleicher let’s her voice drift about various oddball instrumental lines. Her appeal comes off more vividly.
Ultimately, Shitty Hits is a likable enough, accessible, listenable, sad-rock album for the masses. The instrumental lines will leave you listening just long enough to pick up on the merits of her vocals. Dark atmospheres and sad moods give the album depth, but odd resemblances to what’s already out there gives a sense of diminishing returns. At the end of the day, Katie von Schleicher’s Shitty Hits isn’t a must-listen but it’s certainly worth checking out.