Stacy Gabel Goes “Straight to Voicemail”
Stacy Gabel is known for going her own way in pop music, and her iconic sleeper hit “Straight to Voicemail” verifies as much. While the staple elements of her sound are on full display here – perky harmonies, fun groove, easy-going lyrical attitude – there’s a preciseness to her execution that doesn’t fall in line with the more lax look a lot of her contemporaries have been employing in the past five years. There’s nothing surreal nor atmospheric about this single; it’s straightforward, classically hook-driven, and centered on a singer who doesn’t need to be experimental to sound original.
The commentarial vocal delivery is more or less Gabel’s signature move, and it starts off “Straight to Voicemail” much as many of her other songs have begun. Rather than feeling like insular internal dialogue, I think this part of the track translates as self-aware, which is a big step towards humble songcraft that too many pop singers aren’t willing to take these days. The pomp of the mainstream is wholly missing from this song, and in its place, we find nothing more than an organic pop performance from a true student of the fundamentals her genre has been built on.
This lead vocal is deliberately over the top, but it works for the hook it’s being made to carry. Gabel has the sort of voice that I don’t mind in excess, specifically when it’s in front of a spunky rhythm like that which we find in “Straight to Voicemail,” and she’s belting it out here like she still has something to prove to her audience. While I don’t think she needs any additional credibility among fans or critics right now, she does gives the kind of full-charge output in this single that I expect only from the elite class in pop music.
These harmonies are a point of interest from the moment Gabel’s voice connects with the string play in the background, and I love how soft they are in comparison to the components they’re made of on their own. The vocal and the guitar parts are bold and colorful, but when synchronized together in this song, I think they convey a sense of simplicity that bleeds into the video and our overall interpretation of the narrative. Confidence is everything in this song and the performer presenting it to us, it’s never lost in the physicality of the instruments nor our singer’s verses.
Pop fans with a taste for the upbeat already know that Stacy Gabel is a one-of-a-kind player, but in “Straight to Voicemail,” she makes it hard for even the tougher critics to dispute her ability in the studio. As much as I dig the music video here, the source material didn’t need any dressing up to get my attention. Gabel’s voice is vibrant and her words relatable, and for a happy-go-lucky performance of this nature, she’s still able to get a lot of emotion across to the listeners beyond a smile and a wink. Top to bottom, “Straight to Voicemail” is this singer/songwriter’s most complete work to date.