23 Jan 2022

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Belladonna - Single Review: Wide Awake

21 Oct 2021 // A review by Danica Bryant

Indie-pop darling Belladonna offers a blissful new musical fantasy with her latest release, Wide Awake. Musing on the great questions of life that keep her up at night, the song finds Belladonna “starting to take comfort” in her curiosities, creating a spacious, tranquil number ideal for late-night meditation.

Produced by frequent collaborator Shannon Fowler, Wide Awake is given plenty of breathing room, to stunning effect. Opening with a breezy guitar and easy drums, the instrumentation is subtle, giving its details of buzzing notes at the end of the second verse, or single strums on clean electric guitars, all the more power and beauty. The performance primarily relies on Belladonna’s gentle, recognisable vocal to shape the lush track. Her prominent Kiwi accent and soft singing encapsulate the dreamy evening wonder her lyrics describe, in which she lies wide awake questioning her future, simultaneously nervous and confused, but positive about where it leads. It can be occasionally difficult to make out what Belladonna says. However, for the most part, this distorted, distant effect only adds to the beautifully hazy soundscape.

For a contemplative and consoling track which summarises the sound and biographic nature of Belladonna’s work well, Wide Awake is a loveable, carefully crafted tune I highly recommend.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Belladonna

Upon entering her family home, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that creativity is a part of Bella Cook’s fabric. 

Covering one wall is a print of an anarchist nun jauntily biking through Christchurch in the 80's - a photograph taken by her dad. Elsewhere, wicker baskets and colourful trinkets are scattered around the house; souvenirs collected by her mother on various journeys.

Born the youngest of four in an intentional community of close-knit families, there was never a shortage of noise or stories to be told in Bella’s home. With quirky neighbours knocking on the door at all hours and sharing rooms with foster siblings she quickly developed a fascination with human behaviour. Long summers were spent road tripping around the backblocks of New Zealand where a steady soundtrack of Wilco, Neil Young, Crowded House and Bic Runga was indelibly pressed into her subconscious. Listening to her dad’s imaginative bedtime tales and her Mum’s exuberant retelling of real-life exploits provided the backdrop of daily life. Within these creative surroundings, songwriting didn’t come naturally for Bella. She was more occupied with short story writing, photography and performing to her unwilling family audience. 

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Belladonna


Total Eclipse of My Brain
Year: 2021
Type: EP

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