Billy the Kid: Voice of Today’s Issues

Canadian artist Billy the Kid brings a distinctive style to the music she performs. Her voice and lyrics have a deceptive quality to them. Many of her songs are about life experiences, and her debut album, Lost Cause, spotlights this. But it’s not really the emotions felt in the song as you go through the event that’s being described that strike you; rather, it’s the message behind the emotions and events.

Her songs sometimes have a different undertone than what it sounds like at first listen. For instance, the song “Just Trying to Get By” is about someone who hasn’t yet made it in life. However, there’s a distinct undertone that says, “Right now I need help, but maybe it will be better someday and I won’t be such a failure.” She also talks about how she doesn’t care which job she applies for; any job will do, she doesn’t “care what [she’ll] be doing / [She] won’t ask how much it pays!” This is so much of an accurate reflection of today’s economic times when people are desperate for jobs.

The track “I Don’t Want To Know” seems to be upbeat but is another deceptive song. It’s about the musician going through a breakup and is anything but a happy song. She sings of how she wants to go back to “the way it was,” but she realizes that the person she is singing to knows he’s “never gonna see [her] again.” She then tells him that she doesn’t want to “know you still love me / I don’t want to know you still care / I wish that you would say something / so that I could believe there’s nothing there.” In other words, she’s saying that this breakup is hard and that she wants the guy to make it easier on her by being a jerk so she can leave.

Her most recent EP, Perspective, continues the same theme. In this album, she talks about unique perspectives she has. In “American Cities,” she explains how she will “check her head” before she ever gets back again. This is because she has just broken up with someone.

 In “Boxcars,” she speaks about how she was “waiting for something real” and how those around her said it would happen “in good time,” and how she wants to go adventuring with her lover and how she and her company are “two kids just trying to find their way.” In “Georgia,” it is all about how the state “let us down” and “kicked us out.” This is yet another song about someone visiting somewhere and having a bad experience; in this situation, it’s about how the boyfriend had someone else he was seeing. “Long Way from Home” is about how she got into a fight with her lover, who refuses to apologize. She has “had enough,” even though she wishes he could “take them back.” “New Orleans Night” is about how she is “still looking for a place called home.” It is a heartfelt song about how she is still trying to find her identity and some place she still belongs–a common trend among so many citizens of the world–even though she she has “had lovers” and friends, but now it is time for her to move on from her current place, which nonetheless has “treated her well.” The final song on the album, “A Protester is Born,” is about how life has let people down. There is Mira, who can’t be treated because her condition is pre-existing and there’s nothing the doctors can do. There is also Casey, a lawman, who will not arrest his fellow soldiers. Joseph is a businessman who is wrecked by the economy. This song is truly all about real-life experiences and people who only want “their life back.” This song is truly the star of the EP, capturing real-life, relatable experiences.

And last but not least, there is her voice, which can do everything! From solemn and depressing, to mournful, to hopeful, Billy the Kid covers the whole gamut of emotions known to humankind. She does it with a very calm voice when needed, or a peppy voice when needed, and she knows how to capture the mood of the song, and with it, the emotion the situation brings.
(Both Images–featured and in-article) courtesy of Billy The Kid’s official site.

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