Album review: elated! by Bea Miller

Miller progress with a new real, honest EP 

~Emma Dixon, Executive Producer of CNUTV~

The year 2020 has brought a lot of changes: a global pandemic, a historic presidential election and much more. But for Bea Miller fans, it has brought some hope with the release of a new album entitled elated!. Miller has been releasing more music than ever before since her album aurora dropped back in 2018. She has gone on tour (before the pandemic, of course) and been featured on popular television shows like The Late Night Show with James Cordon

If you haven’t heard of Bea Miller before, you probably have but just don’t realize it. One of her five singles leading up to elated!, “feel something,” went viral on TikTok and has accumulated over 155 million streams. Her “self-love song that wasn’t corny” called “it’s not you it’s me” also gained popularity leading up to this album.

Point being, Bea fans have been waiting to be fed music for a while. Myself included. And Bea delivered. With a seven song, 22 minute EP. 

elated! departs from Miller’s usual pop sound in her past albums like Not an Apology. elated! offers a more alternative, indie style pop that is very unique. But on top of the change in style and sound, Bea also starts telling personal stories with this album. Rather than the typical pop lyrics you would find in teen songs nowadays, Miller uses her album to comment on social issues as well as give listeners an inside look at her personal life. 

The album kick starts with “hallelujah” which, unlike the title suggests, is far from the original religious song. One of my personal favorites on the album, “hallelujah” almost borders the line of pop gothic. With sharp piano attacks and sultry vocals from Miller, the song is darker and eerie compared to most of the songs on the album. Being a more alternative kind of Gospel song, “hallelujah” also comments on the current events (the pandemic, in particular) as well as mental health with lyrics like “And maybe I should see a therapist / But the apocalypse is probably gonna take us out.” Miller also gets political in this song because she unapologetically sings “How am I supposed to work on myself / When there are Nazis in a big white house?” The very first song shows how much Miller has progressed musically and lyrically with bold choices like these. Personally, I think this song is Miller’s best work up to date because it shows the darker side of her thoughts. It is a song that is easy to relate to. Even though it is a sad song, it includes a good beat that makes it irresistible to bop your head too. This track is one of the strongest first songs on an album I’ve ever heard and I definitely think Bea picked the best song to set the tone for the new album. 

The second song on the album, which I will admit I feel a little cheated by because she had already released “feel something,” is “FEEL SOMETHING DIFFERENT.” As the title alludes to, this is a remix of the original “feel something,” her most successful song to date. Although I was at first disappointed, I was pleasantly surprised at how different the two songs were. “FEEL SOMETHING DIFFERENT” is nothing like the original. “FEEL SOMETHING DIFFERENT” is much more upbeat and almost disco-like compared to “feel something.” Rather than the melancholic, darker original, the remix is more strident and lively. Although I prefer the original hands down, no questions asked, I did like the club-like, groovy beat that was added.

The third song on the album is “forever is a lie,” which she uses to critique the heteronormative society that promotes marriage. This song features a unique guitar beat that sets it apart from most of Bea’s other work. The song also touches on her father, who we learn wasn’t a part of her life: “This whole thing started so that fathers could sell daughters like property / But I never had a father and I couldn’t be his daughter, so lucky me.” Miller vocalizes her detest for marriage by singing “Marriage is a contract ’cause they know that it’s another liability.” Bea cynically points out that “forever is a lie” but she can “love you for the night.”

The fourth song off the EP is another relatable topic: “making bad decisions.” I will admit, I may be a little biased with this song because it is my least favorite song on the album musically. Although this song is not my style musically, Miller is still strong vocally and lyrically on this track. Miller again gives us a glimpse into the darker side of her mind, her impulsive tendencies and how her favorite tendency is self-sabotage. The thing I really like about this song is that the production brings out Miller’s uniquely raspy and breathy voice while she is singing about “Makin’ bad decisions based on temporary thoughts.” 

Tied for my favorite song on the EP is the fifth song “i never wanna die.” The mood, genre and sound of this song is my favorite on the album. I think what I like about this song is that it transitions to a love song rather than self doubts, faults and struggles. Even though it is a love song, the mood still makes it feel like an edgy, alternative type of genre. The vibes remind me of “Creep” by RadioHead. Again, although it is described as a love song, I cannot emphasize enough that it is nothing like a traditional love song in any way shape or form. This song probably emphasizes Miller’s vocals the best which is probably why I love it so much. The chorus accentuates her raspy voice when she sings “You’re just so fuckin’ special / So I never wanna die, no / I never wanna die.” This song perfectly captures what it feels like to be young and lovestruck by someone at a party. Miller explains that “I couldn’t write a love song that captures you if I tried / But hey, I feel alright.” Although it is moody and edgy, it is not slow or soft like a traditional love song which is why I love it immensely. 

Moving on to the sixth song, “wisdom teeth” is the sole single of the album. When I first heard this song I was not a fan of it. And I will openly admit that. But after listening to her entire album all the way through, the song began to grow on me. I honestly can’t explain what it is, but something about it makes it very catchy and enjoyable. The song is all about Bea’s innocence and her growing up. Miller uses a play on words with the title of the song, singing “Why am I so stupid? Used to be so smart / When they pulled my teeth out, lost the wisest part” during the chorus. Again, this shows Miller growing up and losing her innocence and confidence. The whole song is Miller trying to get this version of herself back. 

The final song off the EP is “self crucify.” Again, although it is not my favorite song musically, I think it is some of Miller’s best work because of how deep and sentimental it is. Miller again opens up and shares a part of herself with her fans in this song as well as tell others that it’s okay and important to not self crucify. Miller explains that “You can call me what you wanna / ‘Cause I’ve probably called me worse.” This is one of the things I admit most about Miller not only as an artist but as a person: she is brutally honest. Her lyrics have meaning and depth and tell a story. They are not songs she is handed by songwriters that say the same thing every other song does. Miller tells listeners “What’s the point of, what’s the point of / Pretendin’ we’re alright? / It’s important, it’s important / To not self crucify.” This song single handedly shows how Miller has matured and grown over the years. It brings all of the songs about faults, insecurities and struggles to a close. It shows that it’s okay to go through things and have issues,but what is important is to not self crucify yourself. Miller does a lot of self-reflection throughout the whole album, but this song brings it to the perfect conclusion. 

elated! is without a doubt some of Bea’s best work. The fact that she was able to write, record and release these songs during a worldwide pandemic is incredible in and of itself. But the fact that Bea is so open and honest is what I love most about it. We need more artists like Bea who write songs that tell their own stories. Because, more often than not, someone else is going through something similar and needs to hear it. This album made me feel so connected with Bea and like I was following her throughout her entire life and watching her grow up. Bea is far from the 13 year old we saw on season two of The X Factor

Bea Miller’s album can be found on Spotify, Youtube Music, and Apple Music.

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