Mina Richman is a Bielefeld, Germany-based folk pop singer songwriter who I first discovered for the blog through her electric track Bad Girls. The track is the opener to her debut EP Jaywalker, which I knew I had to give a listen. Here’s my track by track review.
By Graeme Smith
Feature photo by Jan Haller
Mina’s five-track collection was mostly penned during pandemic lockdown. Trapped in a student flat with only a ukulele and guitar for company, the EP has an authentic and immediate feel about it from the off. Bad Girls is the perfect scene-setter. The instrumentals are minimal, which means Mina’s characterful vocals get the attention they deserve, as does her poetic and image-laden lyrics.
Outside of the EP’s lockdown influences, its track are something of an autobiography for Mina. Growing up queer in a small town, her songs speak of feeling out relationships as an awkward teenager, successfully or otherwise. Track two A Broken Friendships Tale is clearly the latter, but it has a breezy, laissez-faire style and the lyrics stay philosophical.
Track three is the EP’s title track. It speaks of the thrill of breaking the rules in order to escape boredom and you can just tell it’s based on lived experienced. With a somewhat more laidback and nostalgic tone than the first two tracks, it shows a different aspect of Mina’s sound, but the storytelling lyrics remain the central feature.
Everything Else has a similarly calming feel, with gentle acoustic rhythm guitar and a tale of love that won’t last. Mina’s vocals perfectly capture the wistfulness of the lyrics, while licks of electro-acoustic guitar give the track classic rock feel. It’s an understated EP highlight.
The EP finishes with previously-released single Leave. It’s a track that ties the themes of the collection together nicely, with its title alluding to both lost love and escape. It has a slow bluesy instrumental arrangement and Mina’s vocals feel particularly vulnerable, delivering stream of consciousness lyrics.
Jaywalker is an impressive debut. Mina isn’t afraid of putting herself into her songs and they’re all the better for it. Yet, her ability to create images in the listener’s mind makes us feel part of her story, all while the instrumentals are kept uncluttered and elegant. I can’t wait to hear more from her. You can listen to the whole EP below.