SINGLE REVIEW: Grace Vanderwaal – Stray

Grace Vanderwaal is the fifteen year old we all wish we were back in the day. She is confident, smart and has an immaculate creative vision which has set her up for a career for life. After the release of her debut album in 2017 Vanderwaal has spent some time touring and learning more about herself as an artist to prepare her for the next chapter of her career. And ‘Stray’ is the beginning of that. This impressive and mature pop song hears her delivering a production which left me a little shocked. It’s not what you would expect from a fifteen year old and I think that is why it is so striking on a first listen. It has this raw and ageing sound to it whilst injecting some cool and innovative new sounds. Her powerful vocals take lead as a guitar strums along and harmonises with her. But then the chorus hits and she throws in the ambient sound of someone running which is so innovative and matches the therapeutic release that the song embodies. “I will say no but you keep crawling in my brain. I wanna get lost, run away. In the dark is where I will stray”. She reflects on trying to let someone go but not being able to because of the romantic hold they have on her. Sometimes it’s hard to let go even when you know it’s for the best and that’s what this song explores in such a grand and reflective way. The song has an old ageing sound to it which doesn’t sound like anything on radio right now and that’s a good thing. It has an old-time feel and that’s what stands out most with her old-soul personality.