By Sophia Castro-Astor
The artwork for Laugh It Off. Artwork by Lee Altsher-Wood.
Becky Crosby shows off her promising young voice and straightforward lyrics on her debut EP: Laugh It Off. In it, she details the delusion, numbness, and despair of past heartbreaks, whether they be romantic, familial, or platonic.
Crosby, a senior jazz studies major, says that she began writing the EP in 2018 but hit a roadblock when the pandemic halted her recording process. To cope with the emotional turmoil caused by a pandemic, she rewrote her music, giving her EP an ironically upbeat tone.
“Numb,” the first of five songs on Laugh it Off, comes the closest to emulating pop-funk, the genre she’s most recently identified herself with. It opens with a dose of new wave guitar that quickly transitions into classic pop melodies, spiced up by building keyboards and funky horns played by her classically trained jazz band.
“I’ve fallen before, but I got back up, and now I just sit here and laugh it off,” she sings in her musical theater-like voice with a nod to the EP’s title.
They are some of the few hopeful lyrics she sprinkles in about how her pain has numbed her. But when paired with a cheerful tune, they create the sanguine vibe most of her songs follow.
The only slow song, “Interlude,” is much more stripped-down than the rest, with only upright bass, light drums, and simple strums of a ukulele to support her calm and steady voice. The parallels between the lyrics and the tempo make this the most unexpected song on the EP. She keeps the instruments and her voice simple and controlled as she sings about keeping her own emotions in control in front of others.
“Can We Pretend,” the final song on the EP, is the complete opposite of “Interlude.” On “Can We Pretend,” she loses control while unsuccessfully trying to lose interest in an unrequited love.
The song begins with her singing, “we’re just friends,” as she tries to keep a level head and push away her feelings. Her voice is accompanied only by subtle drums and sparse guitar strums. Bass and piano come in as the song builds up to the chorus, where she loses the most control.
“I think I love you, can we pretend you love me too?” she sings before the instruments calm down and she collects her emotions. The upbeat and funky melody, peaking at the chorus once again, contrasts the deeply vulnerable lyrics, making “Can We Pretend,” the highlight of the EP and a dance song that’s easy to nod your head to.
This difference between a song’s tempo and lyrics is her signature on “Laugh it Off.” It demonstrates her way of using music to overcome her heartbreaks.
“It’s a way for me to pull something positive out of depressing situations,” Crosby explains. “If I can make something beautiful and fun out of it, it’s easier to look back and realize somethings weren’t so bad.”