Sabrina Pirzada is a talented musician and a profound lyricist working in symbiosis with her guitar in creating a unique world of vibrant sounds and nourishing melodies. She crafts her music to be uplifting and inspiring, and through it, she encourages us to embrace the very essence of humanity- a complex weave full of beautiful struggles. Sabrina’s commitment to her craft is unwavering, and she bravely stands up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. She is an artist who refuses to be limited by societal norms and is unafraid to explore new paths. Through her music, Sabrina Pirzada offers us a glimpse into a world where every moment is precious, and every experience is infused with wonder.
Sabrina has a penchant for creating simple yet enchanting melodies. Blending guitar-driven rock with the melodies of new Americana, set to her almost baroque/ethereal vocals, evoking the venerable Blossom Dearie and the garage/pop girl groups of the 1960s. Her vocals are so distinct and difficult to pigeonhole, they’ll be the very first thing that’ll jump out at you as you cruise through the beautiful journey of her highly anticipated debut album, Tell Them Not To Look For Me.
COUNTIN’ DOWN TO MIDNIGHT
For the opening track, Sabrina chose to hit us with ‘Countin’ Down to Midnight’, which opens up with the most enchanting guitar I’ve heard all year -and believe me, that’s saying a lot!-. Just as I’ve promised, Sabrina’s unique vocals really do jump out at you right away, and by now they remind me a bit of someone else but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
The lyrics go into this deep sense of love and anticipation for a new beginning with someone special, where Sabrina is excited to be with this person, and she feels as though they have been hiding away until now. there’s a palpable sense of giddy hopefulness that New Year’s Eve brings to those of us who still hold out for better days.
HALF THE TIME
“Half The Time” is the second song and it already christens the album as a true rock masterpiece. How so? Well, I’ll be straight up honest to admit that my highly subjective bias and deeply personal perception says -with every fiber of my being- that this song sounds almost exactly like a song that the late, great, and underrate(d) Warren Zevon would have written. It sounds exactly like that Jangly, honest-to-God workin’ man’s jukebox rock and roll ditty in every way except for the quirky vocals by Sabrina which makes sure everything she puts out is cut out of a very different cloth. This song truly put a big dumb smile on my face that had me nodding with my eyes closed. Yeah, it’s that good…
YOU PUT THE ROCK ‘N ROLL BACK
But I wasn’t even ready to be so deeply moved by the following track “You Put The Rock ‘n Roll Back” which had the hairs on my neck standing on end, and I don’t think I can properly do the song justice in any way with my words except with this:
2023 is halfway done. And I think I’ve found my song of the year.
“When my spirit was under attack, You put the rock n roll back” is one of the best lines I think I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s so simple, so sweet, so true and so powerful. Three songs into this album, and I can unequivocally say that I am convinced that Sabrina is hands-down a genius songwriter and composer.
STEEL BLUE EYES
Even one foolish for music as I am, should know better than to expect this album to get any better, but I’m entirely justified in thinking that everything still in store for us will not let down. Of course”Steel Blue Eyes” is just another show of what excellency sounds like. The minimalistic and sentimental ballad almost wants to take a detour into country music territory (which I would welcome easily) but it doesn’t quite dip out of rock/blues.
Lyrically, the song is about the firm reassurance we all hope to feel when looking into the eyes of our significant others, a reassurance that we commit to memory just as we do their eyes. The imagery of the train going by in the dead of night adds to the sense of longing and uncertainty, but Sabrina is convinced that they will always find each other. With the lightning and thunder representing the intensity of their love.
TELL THEM NOT TO LOOK FOR ME
The titular track is of course a very important one, as it conveys a sense of deep, unwavering love, even in the face of adversity. Sabrina describes her love for someone who is far away, across seas and borders, and how she was always stubborn about loving them. The love is so strong that it transcends time and space, appearing in past lives, old poems, and solitary hymns. This love is so intense that they are willing to risk everything for it, even if it means being stoned to death. Overall, this track expresses a powerful and enduring love that defies boundaries and expectations. It’s amazingly refreshing to hear something so earnestly romantic in a way that feels out of this time.
DON’T WANNA MISS THE MAN
So far we’ve spent quite a while getting acquainted with Sabrina’s affinity for a more classic, blues-influenced sound, but this song changes things up a bit by approaching a more 90’s alt-rock vibe that I quite enjoyed as a palate cleanser that shows some of the breadth of sounds that Sabrina is capable of delivering effortless and seamlessly.
In this song, Sabrina talks about a sense of love and connection between two people who want to be free and escape from their worries together, as both seem to be running from the same kind of loneliness. It’s also reflective of a willingness she has to adapt to a partner who may have his flaws and quirks but is ultimately very much worth chasing after.
The primary riff in this song reminded me a lot of another rock band I deeply love. This time I was reminded of Lynyrd Skynyrd, specifically the fun and acerbic tone of “Don’t ask me no questions”, except that this song is not at all about being flippant towards nosey reporters! White Dress is in many ways the sweetest and most optimistic (or is it hopeful?) song in the entire album, and I would believe many women -in particular- will find themselves drawn to this gorgeous song.
WHERE YOU ARE
Now we’ve described Sabrina’s album as “rock” so far, but it’s been mostly ballads in some form or another. Where’s the edge you ask? Where are the kick-ass riffs? Well, if you wanted something to up the intensity a notch or two, “Where You Are” certainly has that in spades.
One point worth noting with this song and this album, in general, is how sincere it all is. Sabrina is unapologetically optimistic throughout the entire ordeal and this song about truly being there for someone no matter what is like a breath of fresh air in a musical era filled with so many songs about division and hurt.
I STILL SAY HALLELUJAH
This song is cut out from a different cloth than most of the other tracks in the album; first, it opens up with a very slow beat that feels like it was played with a darbuka, and then, as the guitar and vocals come on, the melody seems to turn slightly towards Bossanova.
This particular song can be a bit trickier to decipher. Is it about God? Is it about a human relationship? It is purposefully open to interpretation I guess, and I suspect you’ll make up your mind about it in an instant, so I will not say a word about my take on it, lest I ruin the song for you.
(IT DOESN’T MATTER) WHERE I DIE
If “Steel Blue Eyes” was Sabrina lightly flirting with country, then this one is her flirting with Sturgill Simpson’s metamodern country sound, and the operating word is “flirting” because she never quite dips out of her own vision at any point in this album, and that alone is rather commendable, but to do so with the supreme quality she’s given us across these 10 songs is just next level.
“(It Doesn’t Matter) Where I Die” expresses a sense of self-confidence and resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Sabrina suggests that one’s background or social status does not define your worth or potential and that ordinary things can be transformed into something valuable and beautiful. The repeated phrase “make me a list of everything you thought was true” suggests that she’s willing to challenge conventional wisdom and expectations to live an authentic and fulfilling life, encouraging listeners to live boldly and fearlessly, and to cherish the moments that make life meaningful.
For me, this track manages to outdo “You Put The Rock ‘n Roll Back” in one area, and that is that this song is so much more uplifting than anything else on an album that already carries you across the sky with its inspiring phrases and profound reflections.
At the end of the journey, I find myself at a loss for words once again, having to process the entire album a few more times than I often do with others, largely in disbelief that I get to be blessed enough to call this my labor, and the fact that I seem to have run into a rare kind of songwriter that doesn’t show up often at all nowadays.
I find myself in the awkward position where I have to wrap this up in a way that does Sabrina’s excellent work justice, and I can’t help but think of Kris Kristofferson -who I consider to be one of the greatest songwriters ever- could have written many of these songs himself. This is perhaps the greatest praise and best endorsement I can bestow on Sabrina Pirzada with.
CONNECT SABRINA P