Just a couple of years ago Sky was supposed to become an overnight sensation with her song “Obsession” appearing on everything from The Vampire Diaries soundtrack to one of those infamous NOW CDs. But the song’s failure to make much of an impression on anyone was likely a source of amusement for Sky, who was never crazy about the song to begin with and often lamented about it. I consider it a positive thing that “Obsession” essentially flopped because, well, Sky went on two release two wonderful mini-albums that probably never would have came about if she’d become the latest Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato. (Just for the record, I liked “Obsession,” but I knew that Sky was capable of better, more artistic things, having heard many of her impressive unreleased demos.)
Ghost is the second of Sky’s two mini-albums. Strangely, it opens with its most subtle song, the acoustic, country/folk-flavored “Sad Dream,” which was written by Sky and Blake Mills and produced by Mills and indie darling Cass McCombs. “I live by my own laws, stick to my guns,” Sky declares during the mellow, disarming track, over a trippy bass guitar line that provides a nice contrast to the feel good acoustic guitars.
“Lost In My Bedroom” features throbbing, scuzzy bass and a danceable beat along with flourishes of piercing guitars and various effects. “It’s just what I imagined, I’m lost in my bedroom,” Sky sings. The dizzying number is the perfect song for spinning around in circles until you collapse on your bed from vertigo. Or the perfect soundtrack for your next nervous breakdown.
Written by Sky and frequent Fiona Apple collaborator Jon Brion, “Ghost” is every bit as haunting as you would hope for a song with its title to be. Like “Sad Dream,” it features acoustic guitars and a trippy vibe, but it’s a darker, deeper song overall. “What should I do, now that I know that we’re doomed?” Sky begs, her vocals syrupy sweet yet still able to convey the anxiety the lyrics demand.
“Red Lips,” which was written with the uber-talented Greg Kurstin and Garbage’s red hot genius Shirley Manson, is my favorite track here. It’s got an infectious melody and a lovely bass guitar part that helps suck you right in. “Such a big girl, such big news,” Sky sings sarcastically, chastising the girl the song is about. Or perhaps it’s about herself? Regardless, it’s easily the catchiest put down you’ll hear this month.
It’s the final song here, “Everything Is Embarrassing,” that’s earned Sky her most critics’ praise thus far. In fact, half of the world’s magazines declared the synthy, mesmerizing track one of last year’s best songs. Written by Sky and Dev Hynes with Ariel Rechtshaid, she recently performed the irresistible gem on late night TV with The Roots backing her and it was nothing short of brilliant. “Could have been my anything, now everything’s embarrassing,” she sings, calling out a stupid boy who could have been her lucky guy but instead just made a fool of himself. It’s easy to imagine because Sky is so beautiful that guys must get awkward and dumb around her all of the time.