Three. Two. One. Album Review: A Culmination of Agony and Joy

Courtesy of Teen Vogue

By Noelia Veras

Singer Lennon Stella has recently released her debut album Three. Two. One., after a long year of her teasing its existence. The album came out April 24, and since then, has been on the iTunes Top 10 Albums list and has gathered recognition from John Mayer and other artists alike. 

The singer has been making music from an extremely young age. In fact, Stella was first made famous as a child when a video of her singing Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” with her younger sister, Maisy, went viral. Stella is also well known for playing the role of Maddie on the hit show Nashville when she was a teenager. For the past year and a half, the singer has been touring. She began touring for her EP Love, Me in 2019, and then joined the Chainsmokers on their tour. 

Three. Two. One. is the culmination of Stella’s work for the past several years and it shows. The album contains a multitude of emotions and themes, and perhaps contradictory moods but this is exactly why it works. It is characterized by a distinct agonizing joy that only Stella’s captivating voice could capture.

The first song on the album is one fans have been familiar with called “Much Too Much.” Lennon has been playing this song on Instagram livestreams and live shows since before the release of this album. The song is marked with this agony that persists in the album and the common theme of a doomed relationship. “Much Too Much” is smooth and natural for Stella’s alluring voice, and is the perfect track to begin this contemplative and dreamy album. 

The tracks “Kissing Other People,” “Jealous,” ”Golf on TV,” and “Fear of Being Alone” had been released as singles before the album came out, and granted Stella more recognition and excitement from fans for the album. These singles feature a slightly different demure from Stella’s previous work. They show a more polished version of Stella’s artistry, every beat and second of these songs evidently had a lot of work and intention behind them. “Kissing Other People,” “Golf on TV,” and “Jealous” give a glimpse of joy as the artist moves on from the toxicity of her past, but still are marked with a certain agony. On another note, Stella’s creativity really becomes evident in her music video for  “Fear of Being Alone,” which was shot in her own home during quarantine.

Much of the album sees a more subdued version of the singer since she was on the show Nashville and a part of the sister duo band Lennon and Maisy. Weakness (Huey Lewis), featuring Maisy, is a melancholy tribute to her sister, reflecting on their childhood and their parents divorce. The song is a masterpiece, revealing a deeper and more somber part of Stella, sitting at 7 minutes and 48 seconds. The track begins with a recording of the Stella sisters as infants and is followed by two parts. The first part, Weakness, features Maisy as they sing to each other expressing how jarring their parents’ divorce was, but how they were there for each other through it all. Maisy, too, deserves recognition, as without her voice the sentimentality of the track simply would not be the same. The sisters naturally complete each other, and the sound of them together is enticing and lovely beyond measure. The second part, Huey Lewis, is a melodic and silky tribute to their lost childhood. In the latter half of the song Stella’s voice has a vocoder effect, adding to the hypnotic nature of this track. The singer chants “What about our family? What about the house we used to know? What happened to us?” infusing both resignation and defiance in her lyricism, a contradiction that still somehow permeates not only in this song but the whole album. 

The album ends with the song “Goodnight,” a mournful ode to a lost love. The song is painful and beautiful, a dichotomy so ever present throughout the entirety of Three. Two. One. The piano playing in this track is piercing and gentle, just like Stella’s voice. The track is a logical ending for Three. Two. One. as it is a promise to not say goodbye but goodnight. This is not the last of Lennon Stella, it is just the beginning. 

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