Susan Galbraith - 'Need You Here'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Susan Galbraith, an independent singer songwriter who has a new single out on all major digital music platforms. The track, which is called ‘Need You Here,’ features hip hop artist Redhead and offers Galbraith’s first foray into more ‘commercial’ pop music stylings. Is the track a success worth having in your indie music collection this winter? Let’s delve into it and find out.

Galbraith’s release of ‘Need You Here’ is partially fueled by a desire to be a more competitive artist on popular music charts. Thus, it’s a significant sonic shift for Galbraith, whose previous EP, ‘Some Freedom,’ offered a much more introspective, mellow approach to her music. To aptly analyse ‘Need You Here,’ I did spend time listening to the six tracks on ‘Some Freedom,’ and they’re fantastic. It’s a brilliant little EP.

In contrast, ‘Need You Here’ is a bit uneventful. Galbraith has a beautiful voice and a knack for emotional lyricism, but it is somewhat lost in the overproduction of ‘Need You Here.’ With that said, the experimentation of incorporating a hip hop artist is fruitful for Galbraith, and one can’t help but admire her radical shift in style as something that’s indicative of a highly versatile artist. (Redhead is superb on the track, too.)

Self-innovation is always something to strive for in a creative space. ‘Need You Here’ is a decent pop song. It could probably get radio play. It isn’t anything that a critic would write home about it, however, and it doesn’t differentiate Galbraith from other indie pop artists in any capacity. I get dozens of tracks across my desk each week in the vein of ‘Need You Here.’

What I don’t get every week, however, are tracks as beautifully constructed as ‘I Can’t Breathe’ or as blissfully bluesy as ‘No Money.’ I’d always implore an artist to experiment, and I’m glad Galbraith is doing that. In this case, though, I’d also implore her to keep her artistic vision and integrity, because I’d spin any tune on ‘Some Freedom’ before returning to ‘Need You Here.’ The former has heart. The latter… just doesn’t.