Music Spotlight: Tori Kelly’s “Inspired by True Events”

I’ve been a fan of Tori Kelly ever since I first heard “Dear No One” back in high school and immediately became obsessed with her unreal vocals and beautiful, relatable songs. Fast forward to this summer, when her latest album came out - entitled “Inspired By True Events,” it’s packed with songs about genuine life experiences, and it won me over from the very first listen.

The album has experienced commercial success, and Kelly is gearing up to embark on a tour with it; she also recently put out an acoustic set where she played the entire album live (proving that her vocals are the absolute real deal).

Kelly handles topics such as the challenges of a long-distance relationship and feeling like she must mask her emotions in everyday life to protect herself from the world around her. Interspersed between songs are interludes with dates as the titles, which range from audio clips from home movies to short instrumental melodies. Kelly is a masterful storyteller; the narratives on the album are both aurally incredible and deeply interesting. It is clear that over the course of her discography, she’s grown up a lot - this album is also her most mature to date, especially coming on the heels of her recent marriage. I might venture to say that it’s also the most cohesive body of work she’s put out yet.

Favorites: “Language” - This is my personal favorite song on the album. With a pounding bassline and lyrics with the perfect amount of sass, Kelly sings about the trials and tribulations of communicating with somebody who won’t seem to listen. She wants to understand what she needs to do, singing “Lord knows I need patience with you so I can explain this to you - I’m trying to learn your language, sugar, so I can love you, love you good.” The riffs and runs in this song are absolutely to die for, and Kelly breezily travels all over her range. It’s beautiful, impressive, and the perfect song for walking down the street and feeling like a queen. 

“Pretty Fades” - This song is an incredible example of Kelly delivering a necessary message with a fantastic track. In the laid-back, guitar-laden song, she sings that she “wants someone when the pretty fades,” and that she needs to constantly remind herself that the way she looks will one day go away, so she emphasizes the qualities that have nothing to do with what’s on the surface. It’s so honest; it seems like we never hear artists commenting on the perils of a world that is obsessed with physical beauty, and Kelly handles it with grace and artistry. Plus, it’s beyond catchy. 

“Until I Think of You” - This heartwarming, gorgeous song sees Kelly touching on her faith and singing to someone very important to her. The song is a reminder to lean on those who matter most to us, as she repeats “I’m lost without a home until I think of you.” It’s heavy on the piano and drums and has a very bluesy feel - by the time a full gospel choir comes in on the bridge, the song has built itself up to that point and earns its stunning climax. The album is full of reassuring moments, but this song, in particular, offers words of encouragement and healing. 

We hope you enjoyed this music spotlight on Tori Kelly’s newest album! 

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