A spirit of freedom and fun is not the sort of thing that you should tamp down because the people around you are going through trying times. If you can find something that brings you happiness or makes you want to dance during trying times, I strongly advise you to not let guilt keep you from enjoying yourself. And while I don’t know who needed to hear that, I can say with a high degree of certainty that it probably wasn’t London-located singer/model Lola Coca. On her new full-length album, Written In The Stars, the on-the-come-up artist collects the well-received entries from her “EVERY SEASON” single-series of 2019 (which features a diverse range of production from sound providers such as Future Cut, Rey Reel, Show N Prove, Piers Jame, Adibanti, and others) into a cohesive LP.
Simmering steadily as a pop-soul chérie for a few years now, Lola Coca has been winning over admirers with her eclectic “pop-meets-ska-meets-R&B” sound and flirty Gwen Stefani-ish style. This new set (which follows 2017’s The Only Child) finds L. Coca sounding effortless and effervescent as she airdrops colorful dispatches from her life & times. The duel driving forces of this album are Lola’s purely pleasing voice and her gloriously assured spirit. The “freedom and fun” that I mentioned at the beginning of this writeup feels ever-present on Written In The Stars and it spills over any barrier that lies between the performer and her patrons.
The album starts up with a sugary slice of ska-flavored pop called “The Map” – a pulsating radio-ready bop that finds Coca-Lola becoming frustrated by the fact that the guy she has her eyes set on continues to miss every clue to the treasure trove of love that she has to offer. It’s the sort of sweet, sun-drenched number that causes you to reflect on childhood crushes in your mind’s eye and would make for a great video in the hands of someone like Kai Martinez. The carefree, confident sway of that lively opener also radiates from other catchy cuts on the album - like the smoothly strumming “Damaged Goods” (where our songbird refuses to stroke the fragile ego of her soon-to-be-ex), the Latin-tinged dance number “De Nada” (where Lola lets her guy know that the money doesn’t mean a thing if the love isn’t there), a rumbling electro-pop ditty called “Bow and Arrow” (that spotlights a fiercely stalking Lady Coca as she straddles a throbbing synth-pop beat), and a slinky after-hour stomp called “Dirty Little Secret” (where we find out that our leading lady with the unapologetic swagger doesn’t have a problem playing the role of the side-chick…just as long as she’s getting what she wants too). And while this album gives listeners plenty of chances to smile and dance and let a few of their troubles melt away, there are also moments of introspection from the sultry pop star. The delicate “Staring Into The Sun” and the expansive torch song “To Be Cruel” provide softer, more heartfelt moments that add variety to the project as opposed to weighing it down. Presenting some insight into the artistic direction that guided her while making the LP, Lola explains that “Unlike [ The Only Child], which served to break my sound, this album pushes my genre restrictions beyond. Each zodiac sign required a different feel and energy, from Hip-Hop to Bossa Nova, '90s R&B, rock, and electronic. So it was nice to experiment beyond the confines of a sound that people may have expected.”
Taking the time to listen to a young woman sounding defiantly free in the face of the sheer fuckery that has beaten so many of us down these past few years is refreshing. Some of us need it more than we know. I mean, we can’t spend every moment of our lives waiting for Mother Nature or some unhinged politician to assault us with their next “hold my beer” moment. Take a moment to step away from the news of the day and step into Lola Coca’s world. You can thank me later. Or not…no pressure.
You can check out Written In The Stars now, on all streaming services, courtesy of Lolacoaster Music.