A common tension when talking about music, and about art in general, is the tug between the personal and the relatable. Music especially stands as a unique form of self expression – usually intensely personal to the songwriter. With the rise of music as a business, though, it has become equally important for music to be relatable. Weezer’s Pinkerton, now considered a classic, was famously blasted by Rolling Stone for being too personal to the point of self indulgence. The reason that Weezer’s second album has grown to prominence, despite that initial reaction, is that (let’s be very real here): we are all weird and self indulgent. The strange truth of the matter is that the most intensely personal songs often end up being the most relatable.
Sam Hozdulick’s music fits a unique niche. She claims influences ranging from Stevie Wonder to ZZ Ward – and it is not difficult to hear and even wider span of influences in her music. Songs like When I’m Gone, Down, and Diamond on the Floor are reminiscent of alternative singer songwriters from the 90s as wells as folky indie rock bands that have been popular through the 2000s. Those songs feature personal themes like abuse, addiction, and other emotional struggles. These themes may not be universally relatable, but Hozdulick sings with a conviction that can affect any listener.
Other songs on the album venture more towards dancey electronic pop. These songs come off as far more catchy, and really shine with the polished production values on the album. Typically, more polished production values coupled with poppy electronic beats can indicate less emotional weight. Club tracks are not usually renowned for stirring themes or ruminations on complexities, but Hozdulick’s music maintains its weight even with this shift in sound. Flashing Lights, in particular, is adept at mixing an upbeat and catchy sound with emotional depth.
Sam Hozdulick’s website describes her history with music, including an interesting quote from her grandfather. He told her that “music is a gift that was given to you, but it is not for you. It’s for everyone else.” This is a powerful quote, and one that clearly had a distinct impact on Sam Hozdulick, but the beauty of her music is that she clearly is making it for herself – it is unique, eclectic, and personal. In the end that is what makes it powerful, and ironically, that is also what makes it relatable.
Catch Sam Hozdulick live on Saturday, February 5th, 2016 at Lost Lake: