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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Nicole Atkins – Neptune City

    New York City, a town where struggling artists arrive from all over the country with high aspirations of hitting the big time, just like the Hollywood starlets they grew up with on TV. It’s a place for inspiration, with an endless assortment of people, their talents have to be able to please someone. It’s a place where Nicole Atkins, a 28-year-old girl with an enchanting voice and an eye for the beauty of art, struck gold.

    Atkins grew up in Neptune City, a small town in New Jersey, where at the age of 13 she taught herself Grateful Dead songs on her uncle’s old guitar. After college, Atkins moved to the East Village in New York City where she set out on the painful journey of trying to establish herself as a solo artist.

    With no money and an old rusty Dodge Ram Charger as a bed, Atkins played gigs in small, dimly lit pubs and bars for a year before she got her big break with Columbia Records.

    In 2005, Atkins worked with Columbia Records and her band, the Sea, to release her first EP, “Bleeding Diamonds.” Two years later, on October 30, Atkins’s second album named in honor of her home town, “Neptune City”, was released.

    “Neptune City”, an album that Atkins has described as being a collection of tragically sad stories from people in her home town, is filled with emotional lyrics — “old town heroes fall as years go by like dominos,” that take you on a tantalizing journey down memory lane.

    Every track is different. Atkins is innovative, switching her style from dark metal-rock, to psychedelic to indie to a sound reminiscent of Judy Garland at Carngie Hall in the 60’s. She is the sweet innocent good girl singing about her broken heart, and the sinister bad girl stubbornly ignoring her friend’s plea not to fall back in love with the cheating boyfriend, all wrapped into one.

    Although most notably similar to Rufus Wainwright, Atkins is sometimes reminiscent of a younger Amy Winehouse with a softer edge, and a lot less drugs.

    “The Way It Is,” a haunting song about a girl who wants to find out for herself whether or not the love in her life is wrong, is vaguely similar to Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” Like Winehouse, this track borrows a jazzy blues style of music that could have easily been heard back in the fifties accompanied by the voice of Frank Sinatra.

    On the track, “Neptune City,” Atkins uses the power of her voice to pay homage to her home town. Atkins paints a picture of the cemeteries she overlooks in the town, as she thinks to herself, “maybe if I pay attention I can learn to love the landscape I was born too.”

    “Party’s Over” is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. Atkins expresses her cute, playful side as her soothing voice coasts through the lyrics. The song seems almost as if it is composed of layers, like a painting, blending different harmonies and melodies together to make one beautiful picture.

    “Neptune City,” which was set to be released in July 2007, was well worth the wait. It is the perfect mix for those blustery autumn days.

    As the leaves start to turn golden brown and the wind starts to pick up, you can easily relax your mind as you cuddle up next to the fire and pluck this album into your stereo.

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