Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from Karen Harding. Devil In The Mirror is released today, March 17th, 2023, and it is the third single from Harding that we’ve reviewed here at the Send Me Your Ears studio.
Devil In The Mirror shows a remarkable versatility to Harding’s writing and performance styles. Til The Ocean Meets The Shore is a positive and simple folk song. Drive Away was a superb ‘escape from the pandemic’ song. Here, with Devil In The Mirror, the listener is treated to a quality electro-pop song that oozes 80s influence.
An intoxicating electronic drum beat starts the song, and you already feel this is something you might want to get up and dance to. It has a kind of 80s Madonna feel that grabs your attention and runs away with it, demanding you pay attention.
The verses and introduction have nothing but single keys/pad notes in the background, giving the listener plenty of opportunity to really focus in on Karen’s high-quality vocal abilities. The use of just the right amount of twang makes her vocals really stand out and give them that perfect 80s pop vocal. Every lyric is easily discernible, and her voice is an absolute joy to listen to as she moves effortlessly through the song, displaying some superb vocal gymnastics!
As we move into the choruses, the synth bass takes over and creates rhythms which will make even the most sedentary of listeners want to get up and dance. This is truly authentic 80s pop and we simply loved it!
Lyrically, the devil acts as a metaphor for the judging voice in our heads that is constantly putting us down and leaving us feeling inadequate, whether that be through body image, relying on acceptance from others or not achieving what we set out to do. We love the call-to-action theme of the song, and its positivity, letting the listener know that they’re good enough just as they are.
Ideas from our ears
A hi-pass filter around 45Hz would remove all the unnecessary sub-bass rumble, and a small cut around 65Hz would reduce a slightly ’boomy’ tone, tidying up the low end a little. In the choruses, the snare sound could use a small but precise cut around 180Hz to reduce a tiny peak. Finally, a light compressor/limiter and maybe 5dB of make up gain would control the peaks and add a touch more thickness and volume. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.
Karen Harding impresses us with every new release we hear. A highly talented and diverse singer-songwriter who is creating music that will win her new fans across the board. Great stuff!