Stacy Gabel Releases “High Heeled Shoes”

2020 has been going surprisingly well for the indie market, and among the more curious singer/songwriters to come to my attention in this capacity is none other than Stacy Gabel, whose latest single “High Heeled Shoes” is making quite the impression on critics this season. Gabel has released a trio of quality tracks in 2020, but in “High Heeled Shoes” she presents us with one of her more intimate lead vocals to make the final cut to date. She’s got a remarkable amount of talent, and in this track it’s being properly exploited for all it’s worth and then some. 

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The vocal is a bit louder than anything else in the song is, but the concept works because of how significant a task holding the melodic components together is. In the midst of the strumming guitars and gentle thrust of the percussion, Gabel’s voice is tying all the pieces into one neat harmonious package, with her verses serving as sonic superglue where it’s needed the most. She doesn’t have to be eclectic in her statements – with a firm backdrop like this one, she can be as direct with her poetry as she is her vocal attack. 

I found the placement of the guitar parts in this mix to be a little interesting, but not necessarily because of their understated presence beside the singing. I think the main goal here was to make as liberal a use of the stereo space as possible as to create fullness even when Gabel isn’t crooning, and in this regard “High Heeled Shoes” is a rather brilliant example of efficient songwriting met with delicate execution. The result? One of the smoothest and most natural-sounding performances that any fan of this singer could have asked for this month. 

The groove beneath the vocal here is rather sweeping in size and yet not enough to washout the depth of Gabel’s harmony, which is essential to making the hook in this track sound as stinging with vitality as it does. From this perspective, I don’t think there should be any debate regarding whether or not she’s learning her limits as a composer and as a performer. A lot of her peers would just as soon have bitten off more than they can chew with an upbeat song like this one, but I can tell this isn’t something that even crossed her mind when recording this single. 


There’s still some room for improvement – as there would be for any artist who hasn’t released their first full-length studio album just yet – but by and large you would nonetheless be hard-pressed to find another pop/songwriter coming along as well as Stacy Gabel is right now. 2021 is going to be a big year for pop and all of its emerging talent, and in “High Heeled Shoes” Gabel exhibits the kind of poetic sensibilities and vocal charm that will be required of her if the plan is to break out of the underground and into the mainstream in the next twelve months. 

Zachary Rush