Brielle Von Hugel’s latest single “Stronger” features Hugel working at the peak of her blossoming talents and gaining much from a collaboration with rapper B.o.B and House DJ’s Exodus and Sweet & Sour. The song, much like Von Hugel’s other material, resounds as a personal statement about where she sees herself at this point in her life. The first class production on this track makes listening to it an electrifying experience and Von Hugel throws her impressive voice into this track with unquestionable commitment. The personal lyrical content is never so personal that it isn’t capable of resonating with a wider audience. This is music that compels your body to move, but it’s also music that reaches out and longs to communicate with a wide audience. “Stronger” promotes an affirmative message that anyone can relate to and does so with immense musical stylishness.
It’s a stylishness that comes naturally to this performer. Brielle Von Hugel clearly follows her muse wherever it directs her to go, but she’s fortunate and astute enough to surround herself with a first class coterie of collaborators with the needed skills to help her realize this track. Exodus, along with Sweet & Sour, has performed a great service by tailoring the song for mass appeal and her unique vocal talents. The track often has a dense musical attack, but the mix allows the music to retreat some and allow the respective voices, Hugel and B.o.B, take center stage without being forced to compete with the music for the listener’s attention. The track runs just over four minutes in length and features a lot of dramatic shifts in its musical attack, but the seamless between these varying passages make for a scintillating sonic ride. There’s some organic instrumentation early on in the track with the guitar work heard in the song’s introduction, but it largely centers itself on percolating electronic beats and wide swaths of synth sounds that never threaten to overwhelm the song.
Von Hugel’s singing is outstanding throughout. She throws herself headlong into the lyric and never looks back with a combination of impassioned phrasing and outright finesse. She’s one of these special singers who never allow her command of technique to render her performances bloodless and ornate – instead, the technique she possesses allows her to direct her passion in the most affecting ways. It, undoubtedly, helps that she has a complete commitment to the lyrical content. She’s with every word and infuses her performance with the same energy defining the musical arrangement. The vocal melody acts as an effective counterpoint to the music and hip hop artist B.o.B brings a hard, swaggering edge to his own vocal that juxtaposes nicely with Hugel’s contributions. This is the sort of top shelf pop music that we should all hope for in 2017. There are too many commercial frauds, too much manufactured music filling the airwaves. Von Hugel, however, is an antidote to that and invigorates listeners with her passion and emotive power.
by Lydia Hillenburg