It’s a little hard to believe that Can We Start Over? is the debut album by Charlotte Sands. Why? For a myriad of reasons. Charlotte Sands has been on the tip of the tongue for several marquee artists like The Maine, Taking Back Sunday, and Sleeping With Sirens for lending her vocals in guest spots on their singles. Additionally, Sands has been self-releasing music since 2018, and with her electric charged debut finally arriving this year, this blue-haired warrior shows little signs of slowing down anytime soon. Coming off of the success of her last EP, called Good Now, Sands is poised for sustainable success by adding ten bulletproof songs on Can We Start Over? to her repertoire.
Sands shared, “The inspiration behind the title can we start over? came while writing a song for the album about the idea of restarting a relationship, and the idea of beginning again or reintroducing yourself to someone. I’ve changed so much over the last few years personally and in my career and I love the concept of starting over as who I am now with the information and knowledge I’ve gained. It’s not about forgetting the past or regretting our choices but more so letting go of the previous version of ourselves and meeting each other where we are at this moment in the phases that we’re currently in. I think this album for me represents exactly that, standing firmly where I am as the person I am today.” By putting her strongest and best foot forward, Charlotte Sands is taking full advantage of her moment.
The album kicks off brilliantly with “Use Me” that begins with vulnerable lyrics from Sands before exploding into a higher vocal register on the chorus. The high notes she hits here are simply breathtaking, and need to be heard to be believed. The instruments complement her vocal attack, rather than distract from the overall mix brought forth. “Pity” follows the rockin’ opener with a punk sneer to it, and finds Sands singing more confidently over a programmed beat in the first verse that slow-burns to another raucous chorus. What she does particularly well on songs like this is to never force her high notes, but instead she picks her spots to go for broke when a lyric needs a bit more emphasis behind it.
”Get Over It” starts off with a complex beat before paving way for Charlotte Sands’ ability to convey a wide range of emotions in her vocal attack. The mid-tempo song never sags under its deep lyrical weight, and instead Sands comes out of a better person. One of my favorite lyrics on the LP comes in the form of “Spite” when Sands admits on the chorus, “Fuck it, I’ll get famous out of spite.” It’s a brave admission from this young artist who is blossoming at just the right time in her musical career to live up to her words.
The middle section of Can We Start Over? is a mixture of mid-tempo rockers like “Teeth,” that feature brilliant hooks in it to keep the listener engaged throughout the record, whereas “Blindspot” is a bouncy ballad about the pitfalls of a one-sided relationship. Things take a turn towards the more pissed off version of Charlotte Sands on the aggressive “Dead Body,” that has her admitting to she’d take her ex back “over my dead body.” The lyrical contrasts on songs like this showcase Sands impressive, and rapid artistic development.
For an artist that became a marquee name through collaborative songs like “Loved You a Little,” it comes as no surprise that Sands would want to feature at least one collaboration on her debut album. “On The Outside” features a guest spot from Point North, and the vocal harmonies between Sands and Jon Lundin are top notch.
By the time the listener reaches the final song, a haunting power ballad about wishing you had the ability to correct old mistakes, they are likely in awe of “Can We Start Over?” The slow-burning track features the best vocal performance I’ve heard from Sands to date, and if the answer to the question of Can We Start Over? is in reference to the album as a whole, I’d recommend hitting that replay button over and over.