Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio we’ve been listening to Ainsley Costello’s latest single, Cherry On Top. Our readers will remember we reviewed her single, Little Sister, earlier this year.
Ainsley is an exciting young up-and-coming artist. Her debut album was released when she was just 15 and now at 18, her back catalogue is an impressive list of songs most established artists would be proud of.
A revenge song on the surface, “Cherry on Top” tells the classic story of a relationship gone wrong. Ainsley digs just a bit deeper to inspire young people with more subtle messages. In it she sings; “Honey, I hope you know, that I wish you well, or maybe I don’t, but you know, that I’d never tell, ’cause either way you can’t say I didn’t handle it with grace, ’cause at the end of the day, I’m not the one who put the cherry on top of the mess you made.” Ainsley’s songwriting prowess has a maturity way beyond her years.
Cherry On Top has a heavy rock feel to the start of the song, with a quick count in on drums and straight into the full band. When the vocal comes in it drops right back to just voice and ukulele before slowly building instruments back in again. At this point in the song, Ainsley gets the chance to display the quality of her head voice with a gentle fragility and a tone a little similar to Katie Noonan.
As the chorus comes in, Ainsley switches effortlessly into a more twangy nasal belt and the listener is treated to a display of power pop vocals which sound just as effortless as the more gentle sections.
Ainsley has a real talent for taking the time to write lyrics that are rhythmically pleasant to listen to and that fly off the tongue as they would as if she was speaking them. This gives her the ability to give the occasional Eminem-like precision and speed in her delivery.
The rise and fall of the soundscape in this track is presented superbly. With dynamic differences between the verses and choruses, this is a song which takes the listener on a journey and keeps you engaged at every single moment.
We love the contrast between the grungey, driven guitars of the choruses and the cutesy ukulele of the verses. This truly is a well-structured and well-arranged track.
Ideas from our ears
A hi-pass filter at 35Hz would remove all the unnecessary rumble in the low end. A boost around 250Hz would thicken up the low mids with a bit of extra warmth. A small boost around 3-3.5kHz would give the track a little more presence and definition too. Finally, a light compressor/limiter and maybe ~3dB of make-up gain would add a touch of extra warmth as well as raising the overall volume. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.
Some people are just born with music and lyrics flowing through their veins. 18 year Ainsley Costello not only has an exciting career ahead of her, but she also has the determination and grit to accompany her extraordinary songwriting talents. Ainsley Costello has all of the elements needed to become a household name.