Katelyn Tarver Scores a Turbulent Period of Life on 'Subject to Change'
Photo: Ethan Gulley
If you love your songwriting perceptive and personal, chances are you're already a fan of Katelyn Tarver. For years now, she's been spilling the beans and reading the tea leaves via her witty and personable brand of all too relatable pop. For those rare individuals not aware of Katelyn's past, trust that she has been prodigious in her success, leaving her small-town home of Glenville, Georgia, earning a recurring role on Big Time Rush, penning a veritable number one hit and successfully releasing several of her own EPs.
Her latest release, Subject to Change, retains her beguiling, omnipresent storytelling style. But, what has changed is the confidence present in her narrative. It’s clear an inner voice is finding an outward vessel of choice. Subject to Change is an album beautifully layered with honesty, vulnerability, and prescience. The subject matter is clearly more the current Katelyn than a construct.
One pervading theme of Subject to Change is the effort made by that little voice in our head, one we ultimately ignore, delete, or forget about by reverting to habitual downstream mechanics of least resistance. It’s the begrudging acceptance of daily living, which is much more eloquently said in "Shit Happens," one of the album’s standout singles. "Shit just happens, and you learn to live with it," sings the artist.
But a more powerful theme, one that Katelyn employed herself, is learning embrace our true intentions, remind ourselves of our purpose, to honor our true self. As Katelyn explains, "You know the expression, the only way out is through? These songs are me making my way through. Giving myself permission to not have the answers. Letting myself feel it all. The pain, the joy, the confusion, the bittersweet in-between… I learned that uncertainty can be an open door. And that change is a constant invitation I want to learn to accept."
Specifically to the song creation, Katelyn made a conscious decision to return to her roots as a singer-songwriter, a storyteller, where her acerbic wit can be relayed using her melodically concussive voice. Two gems on the latter part of the album "At The Same Time" and "Glad I Got You" have that evocative singing-against-a-rainy-window-pane appeal, enthralling the listener with what feels like a personal soundtrack to their plight. They give this album so much to hang onto. The lyric-forward approach clearly suits Katelyn’s strengths, a way to recast the mold she had been set in, to shed the insecurity of her own ideas, to embrace the process as a valuable part of the art form, equally as significant as the end product.
The result is obvious even on familiar sing-along-while-you-drive singles like "Nicer." Most of the album is a true counter to the subterfuge pop our ears are currently stressed by. And in embracing that, the unresolved, misplaced feelings of Subject to Change ground it as Katelyn’s best work yet. An album that is strident in its open beauty and pacing. If this album does what it’s meant to, deserving of, this scar tissue of confession will be the reason Katelyn finds her way into the hallowed halls of lasting singer-songwriters before her, following the trajectory of a career path that is always subject to change.
Listen to Subject to Chance below: