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Macedo Packs an Emotional Punch with Paper Doll EP


By Kimberly Dunbar

You know that song you play over and over again after a break up? Lucky for us, thanks to Macedo and their new EP Paper Doll, there’s now an entire album we can play to help heal our broken (or at least bruised) hearts.

Life isn’t a fairy tale and love never happens like it does in the movies.  And we know it.  Somehow, though, for many of us ~ boys and girls alike ~ it still comes as an unwelcome surprise that the reality of relationships is not all roses and eternal romance. It doesn’t help that for every one realistic, yes-love-can-hurt-and-your-pain-is-valid song there are five epic, unrealistically romantic love ballads making us each question whether only we are unlucky at love.  Macedo deftly evens out the ratio with six stellar tracks saturated with honest, insightful emotion on Paper Doll.  Not only is the duo’s music extremely appealing overall, but their lyrics are refreshingly…real.

Macedo girlsMacedo channel a less angry Fiona Apple and an angrier Regina Spektor or Feist (especially on “Skin”) throughout their sophomore album. Although just 25 years old, identical Californian twin sisters Michelle and Melissa sing about self-discovery and heartbreak with power and authority.  The tracks are backed by a seamless, magical blend of piano, cello and acoustic guitar that, along with the lyrics, give them depth, each song emotionally resonating with the listener.

With Paper Doll, Macedo prove they’ve grown up both professionally and personally. Their music and their writing (the sisters penned all the songs on the album) are more mature and they have clearly developed creatively since their debut album Flags & Boxes (2011). They have discovered a sound and point of view that works for them ~ and for their audience.

Macedo Paper DollFor me, the title track “Paper Doll” was the highlight of the album. I couldn’t help but listen to the song over and over again, discovering a new lyric to love each time. The lines “I know/ you care/ only as much as your shadow allows…” and “…the past is like revolving doors/ only I am stuck in yours…” struck a chord with me and remain some of my favorites from the EP. I suspect that everyone who listens to Paper Doll will similarly discover lyrics that speak to them.

The other five songs on the EP also contain relatable, memorable lyrics; take, for example, the chorus of “17:”

“Mistrust, heartbreak, lies/ some things in life don’t just end with goodbye/ countless, hopeless tries/ the clarity of your transparent disguise…”  The twins articulate what many of us feel but cannot necessarily express.

In the closing track, Macedo explores the idea of not being good enough, a source of anxiety for many of us. One of my worst fears is revealing all of myself to someone and having that person not like what he or she sees, something Macedo seems to understand perfectly in “Amazing:”

“If I look amazing always/ no one can stay that way/ will you still love me/ when I fade away/…I’ve spent my life constructing/ the walls that protect me/ they are transparent as far as you can see…”

Despite dealing with difficult issues of the heart, Paper Doll ~ inarguably musically engaging ~ does not come across as a study in angst ~ rather, it gives the listener a sense that he or she is not alone in experiencing difficult emotions.  It is both comforting and cathartic and I am already looking forward to future offerings from Macedo.  As they’ve shown us with their progression from Flags & Boxes, their music only gets better with time.