Self Esteem: Compliments Please (Fiction) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Self Esteem

Compliments Please


Mar 28, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Pop has a delusion problem. In a quest to viewed as something more than throw away, it is run-through with allusions to “empowerment” but often it falls short. It’s often an act, marketing not activism, wrapped in the sonically mundane.

This fact makes Rebecca Lucy Taylor’s debut solo record Compliments Please such a beguiling pop prospect. A wide-reaching work of personal empowerment, this is the real deal.

Self Esteem is a persona that started as a satirical identity to channel Taylor’s self-doubts and insecurities, a fight-back against the dampened sense of self she was suffering as one-half of Slow Club. She has now produced a vital album that reclaims her sense of self from the industry laid out path for a pretty girl in an indie band.

Opening skit “Feelings” takes a direct swipe at her past tribulations. “When you’re in a band, everyone doesn’t want the same thing,” explains the voice on the track, Taylor handing her truth over to a third person.

Sure, the music here is hardly a revelation, but a solid modern pop run of R&B-infused pop bangers expertly handled by Taylor, proving the sheer quality of her voice, but the lyrical content of Compliments Please is important.

Taylor lays out a deeply personal manifesto for self-improvement and increased self-esteem, grounded not in big boasting gestures but in real vulnerability. Anthems like “The Best” are carried by self-awareness but also a sense of heartache and despondency. “I did the best that I could, babe,” sings Taylor, owning a relationship breakdown on her terms.

“Rollout” takes the classic Destiny’s Child vibe into downbeat territories, with a repeated refrain, “What might have I achieved if I wasn’t trying to please,” that echoes so many instances of modern womanhood it becomes an essential message.

Playing with androgyny, Taylor ends proceedings with “On the Edge of Another One” a folky nod to her past musical life and, via pitch-changed vocals, a fragile comment on how she is perceived as a woman in a man’s world. At least that’s how I read it.

Throughout Compliments Please is an expert balancing act. It’s a party record dealing in deep reflective issues that carries a message of optimism and empowerment.

Reinvented and revitalised, rightly Taylor has taken her position as a real pop star and this album is a brilliant opening salvo. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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