Weekly EP Revue: Elizaveta’s ‘Hero’

Russian-born Elizaveta Khripounova crafts elegant, baroque-inspired melodies with sweeping, powerhouse vocals.  (Photo provided by elizaveta.typepad.com)
Russian-born Elizaveta Khripounova crafts elegant, baroque-inspired melodies with sweeping, powerhouse vocals. (Photo provided by elizaveta.typepad.com)

Born in N.Y, but raised in Russia, Elizaveta Igorevna Khripounova, known simply as, Elizaveta, dreamed of returning to the U.S. to pursue music. A pianist at heart, Elizaveta began to describe her music genre as “opera-pop.” In 2011, the young singer-songwriter used her classical training to aid in the release of her 2012 debut album, “Beatrix Runs.” Previously, the artist had released three EPs and just recently, released her fourth.

Titled “Hero,” Elizaveta’s most recent venture in music is a pop-infused, operatic, five-track release with a lot of potential. With comparisons that can be drawn from artists like Lenka and Florence and the Machine, “Hero” provides two dimensions of musical framework. On one hand, more powerful, simplistic tracks like “God Only Knows,” “Hero,” and “Sorry,” are more characteristically equivalent to her previous releases, but tracks like “Red Balloon” and “Spaceman” provide the album with a different, more upbeat perspective.

The title track “Hero,” is the best song from the record. Sticking to her roots, Elizaveta’s powerhouse vocals are the focal point of this track. It’s beautifully written, constructed and presented while also maintaining the ability to be interesting to listeners. It’s different enough to separate itself from classic opera, but similar in a way that fans of mainstream and classical music will find appeal.

The next track, titled “Red Balloon,” is one example of how different Elizaveta is becoming. Infusing radio gritty vocals, synth-pop beats and darker feelings, this track is slightly similar to the work of artists like Lana Del Rey. “Red Balloon” balances itself on the border of dreadful and optimistic as the beat changes throughout. But, if a listener can stick with the track through its entirety, they may find themselves drawn in.

The track “Sorry” is a powerful ballad which represents Elizaveta trying to find a balance between classical and pop music. It’s an acceptable track but provides little to stand out.

“Spaceman” is perhaps the biggest move to a new genre that Elizaveta attempts on her EP. It’s pop at its most basic and it’s an odd arrangement that presents a strong case that opera and pop should not be blended.

For her final track, “God Only Knows,” Elizaveta brings herself back to her singer-songwriter roots in a positive way. It’s the next best thing on “Hero” and its simplicity and beautiful mix of bright instrumentals and swooning vocals makes for a promising future for Elizaveta.

Ultimately, “Hero” boils down to an uncomfortable mix between two genres that if done right, may have actually broadened Elizaveta’s horizons. Unfortunately, for the majority of the EP, listeners will find it hard to listen through something that seems empty, confusing and dry. But, when it does hit the mark, audiences may find themselves captivated by this artist.

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