Raffaella – Ballerina
Raffaella feels like a bit of an interesting oddity in my list of “artists I like to listen to”. For the most part, to be frank, she feels like kind of a nobody level musician, though not for not trying pretty hard to get somewhere. Though Wikipedia says she was dating Justice Smith for a while and she got a set on Vevo Discover, which is pretty sweet. I’m not really here to gossip though. My first exposure was when she opened for Sigrid in 2019. Before the show I started listening to this album just fro the sake of having some idea of who she was.
I’ve been a fan since then though. I actually listen to more Raffaella these days than Sigrid, which is also amusing. It actually feels like a bit of a shame that she doesn’t seem to be making a ton of traction in her career, because she has a really interesting and varied sound and a lot of clever lyrics going on in her tracks.
The opening track of her first EP, Ballerina, is Sororicide, an airy jazzy track that follows a little story about a girl who seems to both wants to reject and embrace the whole concept of being part of the popular crowd, and how ultimately it’s all kind of a big fake sham. This is a bit of a running theme throughout this album’s tracks. A desire to be part of the cool crowd while trying to reject it for individuality. I really like the use of vocalizations as part of the backing track to the lyrics, with the oooohh and the little do do do that pop up.
It’s followed by Bruce Willis. On a side note, I really like how this is one of those rare songs where the title isn’t just the chorus line. It has a lot of the same feel and themes of Sorocicide, though it has a much fuller sound to it. I like how the hook breaks out the way it does each time from the calmer lyrical sections.
The third track on this EP, NASA’s Fake, has a more upbeat and poppy sound to it, which a much more prominent drum line to it and a bit more synth effects to it. It also has a lot more interesting variety to it’s melodies then the first two tracks with it’s bopping chorus and it’s little break out quiet interlude near the end. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album.
The album takes a low key turn for a bit with Hell Yeah (yeah yeah yeah yeah). The airy and light feel returns for this track as well. The title track, Ballerina, picks up the pace a bit and has a nice little inspiration, autobiographical feel to it, but keeps the more light feel up with it’s pleasant piano melodies. There are actually quite a few nice little underlying piano melodies all throughout this album. It gives it a nice light Jazzy feel overall. In the case of Ballerina, it certainly evokes the feel of a ballerina dance. Based on when I saw her on stage, and some of the videos I’ve watched, Raffaella also seems to do a lot of her performance on her barefoot tip toes.
The last track is probably my favorite track, with Balaclava (like the ski mask). It really feels like a nice culmination for the album as it takes a lot of the elements of the previous tracks and stacks them all up for one last hurrah. It also tells a little story about breaking and entering into rich people’s homes, which I find amusing.
I’ll probably do future posts on her second album, but in general, I really enjoy Raffaella’s music, and I really hope she can get somewhere bigger in the future.