Released: 29th January 2021
A tale of two tones, Celeste’s latest album release uses an almost perfect split of stripped-down, sultry jazz tracks and pop-leaning songs full of soul-inspired energy, all unified by the singer’s staggeringly smooth vocals. ‘Not Your Muse’ flawlessly sets the scene of a smoky cabaret, giving us equal opportunities to watch in contemplation or stand up and dance.
Celeste holds jazz traditions close by applying a warm dose of strings and piano to the album that give a timeless element to the likes of ‘Strange’ and the titular track alike. Simultaneously, she innovates the sound by using funky guitars and even looping what sounds like a piano track from a Brubeck tune on ‘Somebody Stop This Flame’. It’s an excellent marriage of something old, something new, something borrowed and alternative rhythm and blues.
Lyrically, ‘Not Your Muse’ uses its quiet moments to sing flowery poetry and drop lines that would be at home in a Bond theme. ‘A Little Love’ imagines a kinder world with dreamy lyrics like “And all at once you see a million faces bloom, December turns to June.” to paint vivid pictures with so few words. Even the most simple chorus, “There’s a kiss that means nothing, there’s a kiss that only means one thing.” is given a chilling resonance by the unquestionably enchanting voice of the 26-year-old chanteuse.
Ultimately, the album is a glistening product of excellent composition, intelligent producing and unerring vocal talent. As Celeste’s first release since being named BBC Music’s Sound of poll winner, ‘Not Your Muse’ leaves no doubt that she befits the title.