Review: Bea Miller’s Debut Album, ‘Not an Apology’

Bea Miller, Not an Apology

Simco Unlimited under license to Hollywood Records, Inc.

You all remember X Factor, right? The one with the awesome commercials that ended up being mildly interesting with an array of judges that made no sense?

Oh yeah, and Simon Cowell was there too. bea_naa_cover

Anyway, I tuned in for the very few seasons, like only a slim couple million people did. The first season was boring, with little to stick around for. I went into season two with the same mindset, and then ended up with gems like Bea Miller.

Miller only ended up placing ninth overall, but that didn’t stop her from being signed by Syco Music and Hollywood Records, which was the first collaboration between the two labels. She’s also popped up in a few movies like Toy Story 3.

After her short lived stint on the talent show, she released an EP in early 2014, which sat comfortably at number two on the iTunes Pop Chart upon release. Her EP was only a small dose of what Miller could bring to the table in vocals and the Pop/Rock genre.

The debut album is sitting in the Top 10 as of right now, but only time will tell what sales the sixteen year old will bring in at the end of the week. Her debut single, “Young Blood,” hit about 150,000 views in less than a week when released, while the debut album is speculated to hit between 21,000-24,000 sells this week.

At first that seemed far-fetched for a young teen whose radio play really only hit Radio Disney and not mainstream despite its dizzyingly good track “Force of Nature,” which was released in May as a promotional single. Months later, it’s still just as good. There’s a sense of lively youth within every beat and guitar strum as Miller sings to the tune of, “Cause you’re a force of nature / Look at what you’ve done / I can taste the danger / but I don’t wanna run.”

Although it’s hard to tell whether Miller will actually have a steady career, she’s on the path to a semi-successful break into mainstream. One of the album’s better tracks, “Fire N Gold,” is in the Top 50 on iTunes this week. The album’s title track, “This is Not an Apology,” is one of the album’s highlights, with a heavy mixture of Avril Lavigne’s earlier career days and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.

The album’s strongest track, “Dracula,” is a song that is so addictive it’s impossible to skip it once the beat opens and the quick-of-the-tongue vocals descends into your eardrums. It’s like being transported into a bedroom full of Green Day posters and black-as-ink eyeliner in the corner of your eyes, singing along with your back against the wall. With fun lyrics like, “If you were Dracula / I’d be letting you take that bite / Hot and hazardous / Like playing with dynamite.”

As a whole, Not an Apology, is weaker in the sense of lyrical content but stronger in the fact that the album fits so well together. There is not a track out of place, and the flow of pure pop into pop-rock and then into acoustic is well done on Miller’s album team’s part. It isn’t Miller trying to be “too old for her age” or upsetting a distinct balance to keep the album steady, but it’s very much a sixteen-year-old teenager singing about things she knows and feels.

It’s a breath of fresh air in the sense of listening to a young artist singing about things that you know they relate to or have a hand in.

Unfortunately, although I’m sure it was awesome on Miller’s part, “Rich Kids,” co-penned by the Madden brothers, is one of the weakest links on the album. It’s still fun, but it drags on toward the end. It fits the album as a whole, but ending what was a form fitting album with this track wasn’t their smartest decision. “We’re Taking Over,” the confident anthem co-penned by Demi Lovato, with lyrics like: “So what if we’re not perfect / We know we’re worth it,” is worth a listen for the fact that you can tell Miller sings it with a distinct honest tone that’s hard to find in artist’s mouths these days.

Miller is still young and gaining experiences and drive for new music and the opportunity to grow, and one can only hope she sticks around long enough to showcase it. The 21-24k doesn’t seem so far-fetched after you give this album a listen.

You can catch Bea Miller live this summer while she opens up for Fifth Harmony’s Reflection Tour.

Rating: 7/10

Brooke Pawling Stennett is a college student pursuing a degree in Multimedia Journalism and Creative Non-Fiction in the old Windy City. She tends to lean toward the obsessive side of the tracks when it comes to books and music. She's an avid concert attendee (or at least she tries to!) and rambler. She'd like to travel the world and write about it, but in the only ways she knows how: sarcastically and full of internet jargon. Her opinions are her best ones, especially if they involve boy-bands and Netflix. . .even though she doesn't even have her own account. You can tweet her at @br_stennett and tell her how ridiculous (and totally great!) her opinions are.