Brielle Von Hugel – “Stronger” FT B.o.B, (Exodus and Sweet & Sour Remix)
The new single from Brielle Von Hugel, “Stronger” (Exodus, Sweet and Sour remix) , showcases Hugel’s considerable vocal talents in a big way. This bluesy talent has received considerable positive attention since her Season 11 semi-finalist appearance on the perennially successful American Idol that she’s parlayed into a number of other appearances on television and in print. Hugel never restricts herself to a single approach – she is a broad based talent capable of inhabiting any musical landscape from the more traditional strains of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox all the way through the contemporary blend of dance pop and rap heard on “Stronger”. The song certainly lives up to its billing. The electronic instrumentation surges with vitality and in perfect balance with Von Hugel’s impressive pipes. The special appearance of hip hop performer B.o.B brings an added edge to the performance that reinforces the song’s title and theme alike. Despite not winning her season of American Idol, Von Hugel hasn’t ever went away and, instead, steadily addresses herself to a burgeoning career with the same blend of skill and passion that brought her to the dance.
The passion is present from her first entrance. Hugel is in full flight, summoning everything she has at her disposal to put this song across for her listeners. There are strong blues sounds struck by her voice, but she’s an excellent pop singer as well who reaches the same high level no matter what musical backing she sings over. Her phrasing is really the combustible quality that sets the music and lyric alike on fire. She never really sings any line the same way and pushes her voice as hard as she can without betraying even a hint of strain. Of course, this is a studio recording and vocalist’s failures can be masked, but there’s nothing about this recording to suggest Von Hugel is incapable of reproducing this vocal in a live setting. If anything, it will have a more electrifying effect live thanks to the power and finesse exhibited during this recording. Hip hop artist B.o.B. is featured quite well during the track and never takes up too much of the recording. His presence is just enough to give the song a different face and his vocals have a sneering, defiant attitude that complements Hugel’s singing quite well.
The backing track is hard-hitting and teeters between colorful density and forceful, spartan textures. It is largely an electronic based number with only a smattering of guitar in the introduction, but the fat bass pulse and busy percussion running throughout the song keep things percolating from the outset. It is true that this is a dance track, predominantly, but there’s a substance to this number that defies preconceptions about this musical style. Von Hugel isn’t the sort of performer who cheats the listener, takes short cuts, or panders. She surrounds herself with first class collaborators and it results in high class work like this that isn’t just pop music, but qualifies as a personal statement of great importance. “Stronger” is one of the best works yet from Hugel and, certainly, one of the best pop songs of 2017.