by ELI KEITH
Mila Webb’s debut EP, “Lucky Nights” was released on Friday, April 15 under the record company Perpetual Doom. Webb welcomes her small following with the agreeable four-song listing that culminates in the title track, which currently has about 3,500 streams on Spotify. The EP carries a consistent sense of ease and ethereality that provides the listener with a sense of relief.
“I think overall it’s about allowing things to change and coping with contradictions,” Webb said of the EP in an email interview with The Weekly Ringer.
The primary accompaniment to Webb’s widely-ranging voice is her acoustic guitar. She also employs a lap steel guitar, commonly found in country music, which sheds a light on her Southern California roots. A soft snare drum assists in keeping quiet regularity of each song, reserving the front stage for Webb’s own singing. She comes from a musical background and, by making music of her own, deliberately distanced herself from her five older siblings who make music under the moniker “The Webb Brothers,” according to Webb’s biography on Spotify.
“I wanted the EP to be like a lullaby—something that I could use to travel to a moment that felt complete,” said Webb.
In her opening song, “Masterpiece,” Webb brings listeners in slowly, immediately setting the tone for what proves to be a measured span of gentle music.
With lyrics like “You don’t have to paint me a masterpiece,” she insists to the person she’s singing to that they don’t need to be perfect, only good company—something emulative of the comfort in a lullaby. “Waste my time, take my time,” sings Webb, a subtle variation in the words that draws attention to the back-and-forth nature of both enjoying and killing time.
Webb takes a bit of a surprising turn in “Halos That Hang Around,” the second track on the EP, which bares her admission of letting someone down. Directly following “Masterpiece,” the listener may assume she is addressing the same person, but we gain insight into a relationship that sounds less positive, and Webb says the EP is not drawn from experiences with one person.
“My mind wanders and my songs usually end up being about ideas, people, friends that overlap,” she said.
“Halos That Hang Around” features a here-we-go-again swooping refrain that goes, “how come I’m still doing you wrong somehow,” which first sounds like Webb admonishing herself. She sounds exasperated and unsure in this lyric, which reflects the emotions surrounding the personal and global loss that she said inspired this album. By the end, however, the person she’s singing about is described as spitting on everything and being “out of it.” And yet, we learn that all of her thoughts return to that person.
“I Was A Rose” continues Webb’s poetic delivery. Picking up right where she left off in her cryptic lyrics from “Halos That Hang Around,” she considers the possibility of rekindling the love that she lost. The past-tense phrasing in the title is telling of Webb’s reflection in this song, and the title’s repetition in the chorus, though semantically sad, is accompanied by a light melody, almost as if Webb is opening a window on the darkness of the old relationship. At the end of the song, we find out why. “Cause I’m changing,” Webb tells us, and the rose seems to signify Webb’s goal of growing along with change—though it may be painful—that runs throughout the EP.
The first three songs of this EP tell a story of various reactions to change and contradiction that seems to conclude soundly upon the end of the third song. We’re taken through the chronicle of Webb being grateful for something new in “Masterpiece,” yet the line “waste my time” lingers just long enough to stay on our minds as we enter into “Halos That Hang Around,” the lowest emotional point of the EP. “I Was A Rose” is then emotionally redeeming, which would feel fulfilling and like a satisfying final interpretation of change if not for the next and final track.
“Lucky Nights” is a wild-card song and, as the title song, it demands to be viewed as a representation of the entire EP. The song’s ambiguous nature lies in the multiple potential interpretations, none of which seem more or less likely than the others given the collective picture of the previous three songs. When Webb says “you give me lucky nights,” she is clearly talking about something positive—but it hinges on luck, a thing of unpredictability. So maybe the song is more in the ilk of “Masterpiece,” paying homage to the highlights of being with someone you enjoy spending time, or nights, with. However, in the last verse of the EP, Webb sings, “if you think of me someday and wondering while you still do, I think it still would be enough for me too.” This idea is entrenched in accepting the passage of something that is long gone in any way except memory. In this way, “Lucky Nights” serves well as the title of the EP, as it brands the acceptance of events changing through time.
“Sometimes we want a break and a release from the responsibilities of life. But time on earth is precious,” Webb said.
Perhaps the most positive line of the EP, and indeed one of the most memorable, is “you make the stars come out … like the midnight sky would be a long long time ago.” It is essential, in hearing this line, that we remember one of her most despairing lines in “Halos That Hang Around,” as she wonders, “don’t know if it’s a lunatic thought on which all stars hang.” If “it,” what appears to be the union between her and the subjects of these songs, is in fact a lunatic thought on which stars hang, Webb brilliantly foreshadows in the description of her memories the fate that she knew would arrive. Through this subtle weaving of emotions through symbols, Webb cathartically connects with her audience by presenting a common situation of emotional turmoil and complexity through the course of living through confusing and uncomfortable evolution.
“I feel happy listening to it,” Webb said about the EP as a whole, which she describes as “a moment in time that is far away.” Looking to the near future, she has a new release planned for early 2023.