From ballads to bops, Holly Clausius’ sophomore EP has what music is missing today: Vulnerability

13 January 2023 / by Nanthana Balachandran
forget-you-not cover
Album reviews/Interview
Holly Clausius forget-you-not
Released: October 27, 2023
Pop / Soul
Julia Jacklin / Maggie Rogers / Taylor Swift
I feel you, forget-you-not, Creedance

Heartfelt, honest, and bold are only a few of many words to describe the newest EP ‘forget-you-not’ by Toronto-based artist, Holly Clausius. 

This EP blends pop and soul with Clausius’ personal and intimate lyrics. The five-track body of work is a story of love, heartbreak and self-discovery. While exploring different styles with a touch of influences by other artists, the EP remains true to Clausius’ own artistic vision. 

I Feel You, a powerful and honest piano-led ballad about holding onto a previous relationship, serves as the opening track. Clausius, akin to singers like Adele, Amy Whinehouse, and Demi Lovato, sets a melodious and ethereal setting with the opening line, “Time’s ticking but I’m not moving my feet,” following layers of her powerful vocals. In the second verse, as the music takes a turn with less piano and more drums, it naturally builds up as the song progresses before slowly and exquisitely returning to solely piano in the end. 

The title track forget-you-not is “the summary of all the songs,” said Clausius in a virtual interview. “There’s a theme with florals in all of my projects and forget-me-not is the flower that I was referencing, but the reason why I call it forget-you-not is this album is about kind of like forgetting or holding onto a past relationship,” she said. The title track focuses on themes of acceptance and finding peace with oneself, with soft piano chords and horns that only build more throughout the song. 

The two main upbeat songs in the EP are “Creedance” and “Spotlight.” “Creedance” brings a 50s/60s feel with its production. The song is catchy from the very beginning with the bouncy guitar riff followed by a punchy melody in the verse. In the track, Clausius sings about the early stages of a relationship with a girl she is quickly falling for who goes by the name of Creedance. The upbeat nature of this song immediately reveals a different side to Clausius on this EP, drawing similarities to artists like Taylor Swift with songs like “Hey Stephen.” The chorus allows Clausius’ vocals and instrumentation to shine through with the repetition of the word “Creedance.” The bridge lets the song breathe before the Clausius comes back with a bang in the last chorus with layers and layers of harmonies. 

Out of all the songs on the EP, “Spotlight” is what really displayed her striking vocals. Straight away, the song starts with a bang, with horns and guitars immediately grabbing your attention and consistently hooking you till the end.

“You didn’t deserve me,” the final track of the EP begins with delicate guitar strumming four chords building into a more expansive production later in the song, including snare drums, to give the song more groove. The closing line of the EP, “All I wanted was sorry, we’ve both moved on/ You just ran away from your issues, convinced yourself that they’re gone,” makes the song’s lyricism particularly potent. 

“I feel like for me, songwriting has always been like honesty is the best policy[…] so there’s no other way but to write honestly when it comes to music,” Clausius said. 

The creation of this EP came in a peculiar way that turned out to be beneficial. Clausius described how she would write a song every day as a challenge. Eventually, she would select the best ones, which constituted the EP. 

“I’ve written probably in every way there is by now because I’ve done so many of those monthly challenges but I find I’m most comfortable when I come up with a theme, lay down the chords and then write the lyrics,” she said. 

‘Forget-you-not,’ the EP, ranges from a piano-led poignant ballad with passionate vocals to a strong, upbeat and lively track with horns and drums. However, the lyricism is what truly shines with this project. After listening to the EP, it is clear that Clausius wrote from a personal place, demonstrating the vulnerability in her songs that audiences need to hear today.