"Wasted Love" by Izzie DerryReview
You can tell that "Wasted Love", the new single from Izzie Derry which is out today, takes another huge step along her road of self discovery and the consequent effect upon her music by simply checking out the artwork before even hearing the song.
With a long history of excellent images, courtesy of her Dad, Simon, the visual aesthetics of her releases have complemented the musical. With the new one, that still applies, but while still very high quality, it's the nature of the photo which will strike new emotions into the hearts of her fans. While all her previous sleeve photos (if such a description makes sense in a digital age) have tended towards the more ethereal and transcendental side of her art, this one features her holding a hammer & wearing a powerful shade of lipstick: elements entirely absent from previous offerings.
As I say, the photo matches the mood of the music & as her various releases leading us in this direction (towards naturally her new album) have seen an increasingly assertive, not to say angry at times, Izzie. I think a sense of building up towards a certain point has been part of her strategy.
Singles have actually come hot on each other's heels, especially from the album sessions: "I Don't Know Why" in January & "Till We Reach The Sun" a little over a month ago. Hence they are having something of a cumulative effect & forming, piece by piece, an overall sense of the ethics of the album in addition to the qualities each possesses.
Thus we've had a personal reproach for wrongs done unto her & then a vision of how women might take on & deal with the manifest problems of the world & the patriarchy. Now we step up another gear and get pretty specific & focussed ire which, like its immediate predecessors, seems founded on autobiographical experience. The hammer looks like she's not holding it for fun: it's going to get used.
There is still reproach in the air & a sense that the subject of her wrath is hurting themselves as well as her, but ultimately she has decided to pull no punches in her lyrics anymore. Being the artist she is, however personal the inspiration might be, she still, it would seem, desires the song to have meaning for her listeners & not just herself, so there are elements of universality in there, and another key part of the artist she is metamorphosing into is her appreciation of the power of invective delivered with the sweetest of melodies: I find some of the hardest hitting lyrics sit astride beautiful or jolly tunes: think of Elvis Costello's "I Hope You're Happy Now" or "I Want You".
Izzie wears her heart on her sleeve (or strikingly on her blouse front here) and always has: her openness & lack of disingenuity has always been an attraction in her work. Life experiences seem to be coming thick & fast these days, and she's skilfully using them to inform her craft. I hope too that given the narratives, she is also finding writing about bad experiences to be cathartic.
While preserving the best about her previous songwriting, this move into harder edged material is helpful I'm sure too in showing progression & not mere repetition. We are also deep now into the songs created outside her old default style of "solo singer with an acoustic guitar": this keyboard led & frankly band centred song may or not be suitable for inclusion in sets like she was wont to play, but I am sure that her fanbase, even those who've followed her from her beginnings, will not begrudge the fact that gigs such as we were accustomed to are evolving out of existence: this is a new, developed Izzie ("Izzie+"?) and she should now be playing better venues to audiences fully attentive to her music & with her band the majority, if not all the time. I think that with the release of her album, Izzie will hit her next career level in 2023. She certainly deserves to, not just for her innate skillset, but also the very hard work she has put into developing her music while remaining true to whoever she is, with the courage to share her negative experiences to the world where necessary.