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Album Review: Gal Musette’s upcoming album ‘Pendulum’ is the textbook definition of a Baroque pop dream

Grace Freeman, known to the music industry as Gal Musette, is a force to be reckoned with in the world of indie pop. Specifically, the musician falls under the subgenre of Baroque pop, which is evident through her combination of classical music techniques with pop and rock influences. Gal released her debut album, "Backwards Lullaby," in 2021, a record exploring the pain of hopeless romances, the switch between idealizing love to accepting it for what it is, as well as the cyclical nature of life and love in relationships. 

Her cathartic sophomore album “Pendulum” is set to be released on Oct. 6, although a few songs are already available on streaming platforms. The album is 11 tracks of contrasting emotions and personal statements from the prodigal artist, who said in a press release, “The order of the record puts these songs in opposition, like the swinging of a pendulum (hence the album title) taking you on a song to song journey with sharp detours between these two mental states."

At the young age of 10, Freeman began crafting lyrical, piano and guitar compositions, and was performing at open mic nights around her hometown of San Clemente, CA. At the age of 14, Freeman was inspired by alternative indie band The Magnetic Fields’ album "69 Love Songs" and created her own interpretation entitled “70 Love Songs,” which resulted in an invitation to tour with the band on several Midwest shows. Since then, Freeman has toured with Macy Gray and Suzanne Vega, and has collaborated with Rufus Wainwright. 

Freeman’s main influences include Joni Mitchell, Regina Spektor, Cocteau Twins and Big Thief. Additionally, Freeman’s performing name is inspired by bal-musette, the accordion-based, waltz-style French instrumental music, which is exemplified in "Je vois le ciel," a song written entirely in French, yet still a delightful listen for those who don’t speak the language. The funky bass line and sparkling piano accompaniments create an enrapturing track that truly earns her the stage name. 

Along with "Je vois le ciel," Gal Musette has made three other songs from her upcoming album available to the public. One of these is "Into the Blue," a pop rock ballad that highlights her unique voice and instrumental interludes filled with bells and distorted guitars. Another example is "Plateau," featuring an electronic drum machine and mind-bending synth melodies.

Notable songs that won’t be available until later on this week when “Pendulum” is officially released include “Catch Me If You Can,” a French-sounding ballad with a delicate and lilting instrumental interlude. “Pendulum” and “Moon Chair” are both slightly eerie tracks, the former featuring a descending piano line and tolling bells, and both featuring her chilling vocals that are emblematic of a haunted house. 

Gal Musette’s melodies are intricate and satisfying, an effect that would not be achieved without her incredible vocal talent. Oftentimes, her words get lost in the ethereal flow of her soprano vocals, but it is nevertheless impossible to not be enraptured by the beautiful flow of the lyrics and not be caught off guard by the moving lyrics that do seep through the saccharine melodies. 

“Pendulum” ends with “Quiet Little Town,” an entirely instrumental number performed on the piano, leaving listeners to sit and revel in the mysticism they just consumed without being distracted by anything other than the poetic ivory keys. 


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