Chicago-born songwriter Shelby O has been quietly flying under the radar for the last few years. However, there have been times when she has stood out with tracks such as “Proud Melancolia” and “Do Nothing For Money”. Both deliver a stripped back acoustic tone that lets her vocal abilities shine. While “Warm Winds” brings some chilled beats to her work. Her cover of Stand Atlantic’s “Hate Me (Sometimes)” surprised some with a slight change in direction. Her pop-rock vibes might be different, but a sound that fits her well. It highlighted that she has a lot more to offer. No matter the soundtrack, her storytelling qualities and how they are delivered never disappoint.
Shelby O is starting the year with her latest offering, “Three Out of Four”. A release described as “a nostalgic and anecdotal story of healing from narcissist abuse by reconnecting with our inner child. It was my way of holding space for a lot of the pain I carried from a lifetime (or perhaps many lifetimes) of trauma while also bowing to the powerful, rebellious cycle breaker in me who’s always had my back”. Originally written on piano, it slowly evolved into what we hear now. It’s a change aided with help from her husband and co-producer LoudFeli, having added the guitars to the track. Luis Linares joined the duo and added its infectious bassline.
“Three Out of Four” opens up with a blend of electronic elements and backing vocals. It comes together to draw in the listener and sets the stage for Shelby O to begin her tale. She does so with the opening lines, “Wonderful display, man, of empathy / You’re not losing sleep and frankly / I’m feeling much lighter, full and free”. As she delivers her words, she does so delicately and beautifully. So gentle on the ears.
Her vocals continue to flow so effortlessly as the song progresses. Shelby O may switch up the tempo a little at times. But, it never strays away too far from its core sound. But, it does shine even more when the chorus arrives with, “Folded in time and you’re dead in mine / Dust on your coffin, you’re not waking up / Child inside, how she waits in line / Timing is everything / Order to hide and seek”.
As much as the song shines because of Shelby O’s vocal talents, the single offers more than that. She has a great way of moulding her words to get her message across. As highlighted with the lines, “You say you’ve noticed a change in my energy / Does my big girl voice scare you?”. Not only that, but LoudFeli guitarwork and Linares’ bassline are equally compelling. These different elements come together to create a stunning track that deserves your listening time.
‘Three Out of Four’ is a beautiful listen thanks to Shelby O’s gorgeous vocals. It does not disappoint.
This talented songstress has created one of her best tracks with “Three Out of Four”. For those who wondered how the original version of the song would sound on the piano, you are in luck. This version will appear on her upcoming EP, due this Spring. Until then, you could check out her cover of Aurora’s “Runaway” (which is also a great listen). With momentum by her side and lots more new music to come, it’s going to be a fantastic year for Shelby O.