Brielle Von Hugel – “Stronger” FT B.o.B, (Exodus and Sweet & Sour Remix)
Coming on the heels of her last successful single, “Naked”, Brielle Von Hugel has raised the stakes with an equally impassioned personal statement entitled “Stronger” (exodus and Sweet and Sour remix). The American Idol season eleven semi-finalist has a well-developed penchant for making the personal universal and selecting top shelf creative partners to aid her in realizing her artistic goals. Those goals are inextricably linked with her personal aims and drafting hip hop artist B.o.B. to contribute to this track elevates it to another level entirely. The song runs a hair over four minutes and doesn’t waste any time attempting to attach itself to the audience’s consciousness. She opts for a largely electronic approach to this performance, but there is a small amount of “natural” instrumental sounds in the track that enriches the overall result. This is the same talent that has propelled Hugel from obscurity, through an appearance on arguably the most successful televised talent show in media history, live appearances, and musical partnerships with respected acts like Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.
It’s never just sound and fury signifying nothing. Hugel definitely has heavy-duty pipes capable of peeling paint from the walls, but she knows how to orchestrate it and use it to supreme effect. She avoids theatricality but still employs many of the same dynamic characteristics that listeners hear in the musical arrangement. While the vocals might avoid the aforementioned theatricality, the force and velocity of her voice doesn’t mean that she forsakes any sort of phrasing. She tailors her singing quite nicely to the backing track and fills the lyrics with the sort of emotion anyone familiar with her talents has come to expect. The second voice in this song, rapper B.o.B., brings his own brand of artistry to bear as well. His voice, naturally, doesn’t scale the same sonic heights of Hugel’s voice, but he definitely invests his words with the same resolute spirit defining her singing, albeit presented in a much more controlled fashion. It’s an intensely rhythmic performance from a major talent. The lyrics from Hugel are full of reality without ever lapsing into pretentiousness and she depicts her personal experiences with vulnerability, strength, and total honesty.
There’s some guitar in the song’s opening, but the bulk of the track is dominated by electronic instruments like pre-programmed drums, bass, and synthesizers. Some songs of this ilk embrace flash over substance, but there’s a tasteful approach in this performance that doesn’t follow that path. The dynamic control of the music is notable. Just like Hugel’s vocal, the music has a dramatic sweep that explores high points, tempers its approach at key moments, and moves with a seamlessness that anyone working within this genre should aspire to. The music, fortunately, never overstays its welcome and provides a thoroughly entertaining listening experience. “Stronger” hits emotional and physical buttons alike and proves to be another great achievement in Brielle Von Hugel’s already impressive career. This is the stuff that makes great careers and she continues pursuing her dreams with every bit of the same determination that carried her onto a national stage.