Justine Sletten – Dandelion

Justine Sletten has every opportunity to play the part of a stereotypical country songstress in her new single Dandelion, she instead bewitches us with a melodic presence that is anything but commonplace in today’s stagnating Nashville underground.

Utilizing lyrical themes that are slowly but surely becoming a bit of an oddity outside of the singer/songwriter community, Sletten doesn’t attempt to fit in with the standard country music mold in this performance, rebelling against a lagging aesthetical evolution that has arguably kept a lot of country’s most intriguing young voices from reaching their potential right out of the gate. This isn’t quite alternative per se, but what we’re getting in Dandelion is artistically representative of someone who wants to go their own way.

There’s a sense of reckless abandon in the lyrics here that emboldens the underlying tone of the hook in a way nothing else could have, and I get the vibe that Sletten is a singer/songwriter who takes moody poeticisms very seriously. She isn’t recycling the sort of tropes we would expect out of a proto-Taylor clone, but instead presents us with the kind of confessional commentary one can only find in the most intimate of diary entries. The best country music is the variety that invites us closer to the composer as opposed to firing off predictable lyrical props, and it’s clear we’re listening to someone in Dandelion who has something very specific and original to say to her audience.


Although the guitar parts get to be a bit excessive in the second half of the track, I can understand and even come to appreciate the depth of the mix for what Sletten was trying to accomplish with the indulgence here. The strings are piled on as high as we can take them, not because they have to be larger than life, but because this singer’s voice can withstand the presence of such monstrous instrumentation. Is she showing off just a bit? I suppose, but when you’ve got the kind of voice that this player does, it makes a lot of sense why you would want to push things as hard as you can in the recording studio.

Canada’s indie music scene is undeniably on top of the world right now, and in the country community, I think a lot of people would be smart to keep an eye on what Justine Sletten is making at the moment. Still quite young but with over six years of performance experience under her belt since dropping her debut EP, Sletten’s style is developing into a much more country-centric artistry than it is a pop crossover sound, but she isn’t sticking within the parameters that a lot of her peers live and die by.

Dandelion stands on its own as a work of identity and a statement about what kind of artist this singer/songwriter wants to become, which is more or less a lot more ambitious of a release in comparison to what a lot of her contemporaries have offered in the past year. Country fans both north and south of the Canadian border are taking notice of her sound, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

Click here to visit the official website for Justine Sletten.

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