Long based in Los Angeles, Novi celebrates her return home to Oregon with a lively and sympathetic new EP, ‘For The Wild Ones,’ which implores listeners to keep living the open-minded life.
Stream: ‘For The Wild Ones’ – Novi
Slightly under 10 years ago, a native Oregonian named Carolyne Neuman put out a pulsing debut single called “The Ad,” on which she confided to the proverbial Apple of Her Eye: “You talk like a man but you’re pretty like a girl… baby, I want to see how far we can go.”
Over the ensuing decade, Neuman – whose stage name is a nod to the Latin version of her last name, Homus Novus – has done plenty to demonstrate just how far she is indeed able to go with her music career. Some of Novi’s singles from recent years include “Electricity,” “Snacks,” and a Tyler Blackburn duet, “Long Day.” She has also seen her music featured in several TV shows, including two entries from Marvel’s Netflix series: The Punisher and Jessica Jones.
Novi seems determined to keep that streak of productivity alive and well in 2021. Her new EP, For The Wild Ones (independently released January 22, 2021), connects some of her aforementioned recent singles with a handful of new recordings, thereby constituting a solid six-song set that exemplifies her enduring abilities at crafting easily enjoyable, lighthearted synth-pop.
One track that matches that description well is “Electricity.” Not unlike the hit single of the same name by Dua Lipa, this song equates romance with electromagnetism. More specifically, in Novi’s words, “it’s about the inexplicable joy and dopamine rush one gets when they spend time with the person they’re infatuated with.” Those gleeful side effects are encapsulated well in the song’s lyrics (“You’re like electricity surging through my veins, all the complexities, something I can’t explain”), as well as its music video, in which a broadly-smiling Novi can be seen giddily bouncing around the woodlands of her native Oregon.
Novi returned to her home state at the outbreak of the pandemic after having spent most of her professional music career several hundred miles south in Los Angeles. The drive back home on I-5 N served as the inspiration for another feel-good highlight from this record: “Top Down Honey.” The largely-improvised lyrics elaborate on the feelings of jubilation one receives while out on the open road, and as was the case in “Electricity,” it all adds up to a love metaphor. According to Novi, it’s a detailed account of “the experience of ecstasy of spending time with the ones [you] love, without any plans.”’
“Top Down Honey” epitomizes the spirit with which For The Wild Ones was conceived. It’s an EP meant to celebrate positive human emotions at a time when those have been largely depleted at the hands of the pandemic. Novi explains that she was keen to deliver messages of optimism and hopes in her music, at a time when so much of the world was experiencing loneliness and sadness throughout quarantine. That much is certainly achieved on a song like this one, which is about “taking that big step, hitting the road, and changing my environment to better suit who I am as a human.”
Comparable results are achieved with the other songs on this EP, all of which were written in the same spirit. On the title track, Novi enters Alessia Cara mode and urges listeners to celebrate their inner wild side, all while delivering her most vocally grandiose performance on the entire record. “Mulholland,” meanwhile, describes her mixed fortunes in her recent romantic endeavors– something else that the pandemic has limited for many of us common folk. Amidst all of this innovative original songwriting, she also makes room for a compelling cover of Sixpence None the Richer’s 1998 hit, “Kiss Me.” Novi’s version considerably slows down the pace of the upbeat original, replacing its vibrant acoustics with calm piano-playing and synthesized echoes. It makes for an effective reimagining of this longtime pop-culture favorite– not to mention the first song a young Taylor Swift ever learned to play on the guitar.
“With how intense everything is in the world, it’s just really good to do things that take your mind off of it a little bit sometimes, and just let yourself go,” says Novi. Bumping an uplifting record like For The Wild Ones is a great way to achieve that precise outcome.
Stream: ‘For The Wild Ones’ – Novi
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