2. Stay Out
4. Two Worlds Away
6. Mr. C
7. He's The One I'm Bringing Back
8. 18 Candles
9. Tough Luck
10. The Outcome
11. Hold You [feat. Kodaline]
12. We'll Be Back For More
13. The Hardest Part
Running time: 45:31
Nina Nesbitt is 19-years old. She has the advantages of being gorgeous, being signed to Universal Music Group and working alongside the people who have produced the likes of One Direction, Ed Sheeran and Jake Bugg. That said, debut album Peroxide proves that she's as mature a song-writer as any name you can think of writing the same kind of music in today's mainstream. Her folk-pop sounded is akin to that of the aforementioned Bugg, and the most obvious comparison is Amy MacDonald, with whom she shares Scottish roots. Nesbitt wrote the majority of her debut by herself, and also had a hand in the record's production. Sure, being featured on the John Lewis adverts is always going to be a helpful boost to your career, but the Edinburgh lass spent years honing her craft and as such has earned the success she is now achieving.
Opening track “Peroxide” could easily be mistaken for a reference to the singer's bleach blonde hair, but instead it deals with the casualties of broken relationship manifesting into new ones. It's the first of many instances where Nesbitt discuss themes that any young adult can easily relate to. Lead single “Stay Out” talks of attempts to be hip and fit in, “Mr. C” discusses the assumptions one makes when attempting to entice a girl, while “Selfies” takes a unique look at the mind-set of a young girl who indulges in the titular habit. To many, the idea of taken self-portraits and uploading them onto the internet is a bizarre phenomenon, and that's not up for discussion, but Nesbitt puts a mature and intriguing spin on things and that shines throughout the record. She uses catchy hooks to make these themes accessible, but there's plenty of lyrical wit to make things all the more interesting and really leave you wondering whether this girl can really be just nineteen years of age.
Of course, all this valiant social commentary is somewhat irrelevant if there isn't the hooks to back it up, but here Nesbitt succeeds yet again, and in some fashion. “Stay Out” is a pop folk gem of a song that excels through its lyrical idiosyncrasies, but the chorus is massive, burning like an out of control campfire and those around it are only out to make it bigger and more dangerous. It's bound to evoke a singalong whenever and wherever it's played, as is second single “Selfies.” It's got the bounce of proper Top 40 mainstay, but much more charm about it. The record isn't quite as developed as it could be, but its certainly infectious and there's more emphasis on the vocals throughout the track that make it stand out from the crowd. It makes the idea of taking a “selfie” sound like a fun experience, and not the mind-boggling non-habit we think it might be. Lily Allen lent a hand in writing “Mr. C,” and if I hadn't discovered that I probably would have made just that comparison as it sounds like it could've come off the singer's second album. Nesbitt has much more bite in her vocal as she warns “I'll take a drink / But if you think / You're coming home with me / Who you trying to kids?” It's obvious that even at 19, she's not one to be messed with and that makes her all the more appealing. “I've come to the conclusion that you're quite fit / But I'm under no illusion / You're a dick.” Nesbitt clearly has smarts beyond her years.
But it's not all venomous, scathing feminist attacks on the male gender, Nesbitt shows she has an ear for a ballad too, and quite the vocal to back it up. The first sign of this is on “Align,” a piano-driven display of vocal power and genuine emotion that's later layered in delicate strings. “Hold You” is a similar success and features Kodaline, and although it doesn't quite reach the same heights, it's another impressive outing. Arguably the album's highlight, however, is album-closer “The Hardest Part,” a really down-tempo heart-wrenching number that features the strongest vocal performance of the record. Nesbitt emphasises every single word as she contemplates a failed relationship that she so desperately wants to work, though she has to come to terms with the fact that it won't. More so than ever before, Nesbitt is highly relatable, and that's a big part of her charm. There's not many who wouldn't be able to emphasize with a fair few of her songs, and her delivery is so succinct, the pictures she paints is so vivd that you can't help but fall for her.
Nina Nesbitt - “Selfies”
The 411: Peroxide is the most essential debut record of the year to date, without doubt. You could argue all you like about her path to success, but the proof is in the pudding. Peroxide is an on-point, confident debut from a girl who is primed and ready to be Britain's true sweetheart, filling a Taylor Swift-size void that's been presence since Lily Allen grew up and went off to have babies. Nesbitt's songs are confident social commentaries about growing up and the teenage lifestyle, and while her views are not necessarily ground-breaking, she presents them in such a way that you can help but smile at her wit and imagination. Working with some of the countries biggest producers has led her to a sound all the more polished, but she never loses touch with her audience or her own roots. Nesbitt never takes herself too seriously and has fun with the genre in a way that makes for an essential debut album. As corny as it sounds, fans of the young Scottish call themselves “Nesbians,” and that's a label I would be proud of having.