LP | Credit: Mariano Regidor/Redferns

LP: 10 Essential Tracks

Six albums in, LP has a body of work impressive enough to warrant a deep dive. Discovered the old-fashioned way (spotted performing and promoted by an established musician) back in 1998, Laura Pergolizzi has been hard at it ever since. This article focuses on tracks released under LP’s own name, but you might also know Pergolizzi’s work through songwriting credits for everyone from Rihanna to the Backstreet Boys, Cher and The Veronicas.

LP’s talent as a songwriter and lyricist comes through on those tracks as clearly as on her solo records. There’s the celebratory, party-ready ‘Cheers’ that she co-wrote with Rihanna, and the Rita Ora track ‘Shine Ya Light’ brimming with a sense of confidence and self-love. While her broader repertoire is worth checking out, here are ten of the best from LP’s own releases.

1. ‘When We’re High’, Lost on You (2016)

LP’s distinctive voice is in full force on ‘When We’re High’. There are some miffed guitar notes left in the mix too – where many artists might’ve artificially cleaned up the vocal or gone for another guitar take, LP leaves the cracks in. It’s part of what makes LP’s sound her own.

2. ‘Girls Go Wild’, Heart to Mouth (2018)

“It’s all in the name of the wild, wild west,” LP croons. Appropriate for a song that closes out with a whistled melody recalling soundtracks to classic Spaghetti Westerns. A surprisingly chipper sounding song given its lovelorn lyrics, the track also features some gorgeous stacked backing vocals.

3. ‘Perfect’, Heart-Shaped Scar (2001)

‘Perfect’ is the opening track on LP’s debut record, the early-aughts release Heart-Shaped Scar. As introductions go, it stacks up to the best rough-and-ready first looks from guitar-heavy greats to come out of America. The guitars are gritty, the solo rips, and with that, LP had arrived on the scene with a bang.

4. ‘Forever for Now’, Forever for Now (2014)

The film-score whistles are here again and the lyrical story evokes a Western too: “A storm lies beyond the horizon, barely / Don’t stop we’ll sleep through the days / Like children that can’t stay awake / Stay here untainted and safe.” A fine pick for an album title track, ‘Forever For Now’ has LP flexing her dramatic muscles to great effect.

5. ‘Into the Wild’, ‘Into the Wild’ (2012)

LP’s voice soars higher than usual on her breakthrough single, ‘Into the Wild’, which later appeared on 2014’s Forever for Now. The roughness is still there, but violins and grandiose production elevate ‘Into the Wild’ to something that could soundtrack a dramatic film trailer, and in fact caught a mountain of acclaim after featuring in a 2011 ad for Citibank.

6. ‘How Low Can You Go’, Churches (2021)

By 2021, LP had expanded her sonic palette to make a song like ‘How Low Can You Go’ possible. Moody synths and modern pop production lay the foundation for another story of heartbreak, starting in a chateau hotel and ending with thoughts of still “Thinking of you now” years later.

7. ‘Other People’, Lost on You (2016)

The breadth of LP’s vocal range shows on ‘Other People’, less shouting and more ringing high notes. The topic is different from much of her repertoire too – an open relationship that led, in her own words, to “…like, oops, I just fell in love with someone else.” Not an everyday story, but LP isn’t your everyday storyteller.

8. ‘The One That You Love’, Churches (2021)

Some fuzzy guitar makes an appearance on this tale of frustrated relationship dynamics. There are also hints of more modern influences, such as softly spoken vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a Lana Del Rey cut. The theatricality is all LP’s own though, as she again puts up a piece of high drama.

9. ‘Recovery’, Heart to Mouth (2018)

A softer take on familiar themes for LP, ‘Recovery’ is a piano ballad in the vein of a traditional breakup song. “I can’t stop sleeping in your clothes / You can’t stop calling on the phone.” It’s weighty stuff, especially with “I’m in recovery” as a refrain. This is one of LP’s softer tracks to the ear, but lyrically as heavy any other.

10. ‘Angels’, Churches (2021)

‘Angels’ is a religious song without the absolutism of worship music. “When you’re around it feels like angels to me / I’ve never seen them before but I feel angels over me.” Compared to some of the brash and in-your-face material from earlier in her career, ‘Angels’ is meditative and vulnerable, showing the wide range in LP’s bag.

LP will perform at Enmore Theatre, Sydney on Saturday, 1st April and Northcote Theatre, Melbourne on Sunday, 2nd April, as well as Bluesfest 2023. Tickets here.

Further Reading

The Complete and Updated List of Bluesfest 2023 Sideshows

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Bluesfest 2023 Lineup Expands with The Doobie Brothers, Counting Crows & More

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