Lina Cooper initially reached out to me back in the summer of 2020 during a period when I wasn’t writing many reviews (and had a years-long backlog) in advance of the release of her single “This Time,” and I was blown away by her vocals and songwriting. It was a catchy, poppy, memorable song structured much like you’d expect from Taylor Swift, well-suited to Lina’s sweet, high vocals. Of course, I didn’t review that song, but when I was on a bit of a writing spree and was churning through my review backlog this spring, I reached out to inquire about what she was working on now (at the time). The answer was, of course, “What I Gave to You.”
Single Review of Lina Cooper: “What I Gave to You”
Lina’s exceptional talent shines again on “What I Gave to You.” Softer than the song that initially hooked me, “What I Gave to You” leans into Lina’s high, emotionally expressive voice. Storytelling verses serve as a tempo-changing, volume-varying canvas, all leading to “What you gonna do when all you have is what I gave to you.”
Simple guitar-picking and thin vocals open the song, with additional orchestration and a fuller music bed joining as the vocals and lyrics intensify. For the vocal structure, well-placed, emotionally cracking lead vocals are paired with full background harmonies as the music soars. The song is a musical journey with a key, memorable line for listeners to sing along with during the chorus. That’s the formula for a sneaky earworm of a song, one that’ll grow on you more and more with each successive listen.
“What I Gave to You” was preceded by “Ethereal,” more stylistically similar to “This Time,” and the rather more disturbing, musically aggressive, almost noir-ish “If You Ever Leave Me” (which has an accompanying horror-style music video).
Other 2021 releases have been an acoustic version of Lina’s “Here to Stay” and the latest single, groovy, punkish, garage rockin’ “AFANASY.” You’ll find a long-form “short musical film” featuring/leading into “AFANASY” here on YouTube.
Lina’s a versatile talent. A good singer and songwriter whose range covers a lot of musical ground, tying it well to her very specific, mainstream radio-friendly voice. It’s time to climb aboard the Lina Cooper bandwagon now while there are still a few prime seats available.
There are currently no upcoming shows listed on the “Shows” page of Lina’s website, but check back periodically to find out when you can catch a live performance.