Last October, I was lucky enough to attend the Ireland Music Week showcase across the city of Dublin where a selection of some of the best names in Ireland music performing in venues across the city. It served as a wonderful opportunity to experience some outstanding acts for the first time, and one of those to stand out the most was Mayo artist, Lydia Ford.
Ford started playing guitar back when she was nine years old having been inspired by the music of Avril Lavigne, and from there she started writing songs and developing her own sound. As a means of getting performance practice and to get her sound out there, she started uploading cover versions and originals to her YouTube channel. In 2016, Ford moved from her home in Mayo to Brooklyn in the United States and it would mark a turning point in her music as her new found environment and experiences leading to a harder edge to the pop music that she was making.
Last November, the artist would release her debut EP, the Bad Things EP, and it would stand as an emphatic statement of what is to come in the future from the performer. A collection of four songs, this is a fantastic listen and shows that Lydia Ford is well on her way to realising the obvious potential that was shown on the Lost Lane stage last October.
The opening track, Lost My Mind is the perfect introduction to the EP. This is a stunningly upbeat pop song that showcases Ford’s vocals and her ability to write stories through her music. I adore this song, and it tells a story that will resonant with so many listeners. Everyone will know what it feels like to be totally consumed by someone else but are afraid to push the issue because you are unsure of how the other person feels. It can almost feel as though you’re losing part of yourself as your thinking is dominated by someone else rather than yourself. It’s a powerful narrative that is addressed with care and consideration here, tucked away in the middle of an absolute banger.
Talk is the follow up track on the EP, and it marks a much different side to the artist. On this track, Ford addresses mixed messages in a relationship and how they can ultimately start to cause people to drift apart. The listener is shown a scenario where one side knows exactly what they want from someone else, while the other side is afraid to openly commit to it even though it is what they want. This is easily one of the most frustrating things that many of us will go through in our quests for love, and it is a sentiment that will connect with so many listeners. The instrumentation is much more stripped back for this track, as if to act as a metaphor for the idea in the song, with a beautifully crafted piano riff carrying the song throughout.
The third track on the EP is Lydia Ford at her most defiant and assertive. Idwbygf is our protagonist calling out all the nonsense that her romantic interest is putting her through and stating that she can’t continue with it. There is an aggression and strength to the vocals of this song, and it is backed up with a driving and intensive beat, while the crackling record vibes throughout help to suggest a sense of distance between the two people at the core of the song.
“I know I can’t win with you, why do I try to?”
It is clear as you listen through the EP that there is a common theme that Ford wants to investigate and talk about, and that is the idea of knowing that a romantic relationship isn’t entirely working but either not wanting to give it up or not being sure whether you should or not. The final track on the EP, the titular Bad Things further builds on this idea of wanting someone even though you know that it’s probably not the best idea. Again, the instrumentation is interesting and layered, lead by powerful drums and guitar riffs. There is also a murky nature to the instrumentation through the verses which almost acts as a symbol for the uncertainty that Ford is experiencing about her situation before clarity comes through the chorus.
Released towards the end of the year, this was one of the standout Irish EP releases from last year. There is plenty to suggest here that Lydia Ford knows exactly what she is trying to do with her music and it is only going to get better as she continues to grow. Definitely an artist worth keeping an eye on.