Angelica Garcia — ORANGE FLOWER

But then he called me ‘dude’ the next day . . . 

This pop-country banger splits the difference between the singer’s Accomac, Virginia by-way-of Los Angeles upbringing. Her song Orange Flower reflects her show-biz-kid upbringing (her step-father ditched a career in the LA entertainment industry for Episocopalian priesthood) but still hints at an endearingly normal person caught up with real-world concerns.

The arrangement spills over with a raucous dynamic, stop-start rhythms and Garcia’s barely-restrained vocal delivery barreling down the middle. Garcia pushes hard on the girl-next-door imagery and, for the most part, succeeds. She sounds like her parents shop at Walmart, like she’s installed and uninstalled Tinder a dozen times, like she’s practiced smoking cigarettes in front of a mirror. Orange Flower comes across like she’s chatting with a group of close friends, as she fills them in on the difficulties of navigating gen-z romance.

She sounds like a normal post-adolescent. When she stares at the camera and mumbles, “Do I say my name and the song and stuff?” you know it isn’t an affectation. Warner Brother’s clearly looking for a low-key Taylor Swift but Garcia comes across like Miranda Lambert during freshman orientation.

Unfortunately, the slickness of the production wears on the ears and doesn’t match Garcia’s boisterous enthusiasm. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find that the producer Garcia opted to work with also helped flatten out tracks for mainstream duds Switchfoot. Fortunately, her expressive vocal rails against the rigidity of the professional sheen and remain vibrant regardless. Let’s hope she keeps her backing band and ditches her producer the next time around.

RIYL: Pistol Annie’s, Taylor Swift, Tinder, That in-a-relationship/just-hooking-up dichotomy