If someone is 14 years old and promoting herself as a singer songwriter, she needs to have the maturity to back it up. Fortunately, Amelia Scalies does and her melodies and lyrics are impressive. It’s always hard to describe a younger creative person without sounding patronizing, which is something she doesn’t deserve.
Amelia, who hails from Philadelphia, released her debut album, titled I Should’ve Known on July 18th, 2013. It contains twelve tracks, eleven of which are her original compositions. The remaining track is her cover version of Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. This is pop music with a harder edge lyrically and ventures into musical influences that channel her individual style well. Her themes include the sting of love going wrong and the sometimes painful ebb and flow of friendships, so important during adolescence. However, it would be unfair to dismiss these lyrics as mere teenage angst; they’re more truthful than that. Given that her compositions carry a lot of emotional weight, it’s not surprising, then, that the one cover she has chosen is My Chemical Romance’s classic.
Oh, she does like writing songs when she’s pissed off! Opening track, Bottom of the Ocean is an angry slice of thrash pop verging on pop punk. Small Talk Friends, my favourite track, is in similar vein. In this song, she threatens to hit back at the bitchiness aimed at her in the school hall and hit back hard. I wouldn’t like to cross her when she’s roused! More Than Words is another thrash pop blast of anger and she’s not in a forgiving mood. The title track, I Should’ve Known, reminds me of Ladykillers, the Britpop hit from Lush.
There is country tinged pop here too, with sweet country guitar, a genre that really suits her voice and her song writing too, on tracks, Phoenix, Rose Blossom, Macey Brown (Green-Eyed Girl) and What I Should’ve Said. Rose Blossom shows that she is capable of writing about the joy of falling in love and not just about being hurt and angry. What I Should’ve Said contains heart-breaking lyrics about a loved one slipping away and regret over not telling her she was loved.
Don’t Let Them Win addresses the topic of bullying, urging victims to stay strong and not to let themselves be overwhelmed. Amelia wrote this when just 10 years old.
Amelia’s voice isn’t outstanding in any way, but she uses it well and it will mature, no doubt, as she grows older and as she continues to perform live. Perhaps more importantly, she is a good role model for young girls going through problems, sending out a message that in preserving strength and dignity, you can win in the end.