Single Review — “Scary as Hell” by Noreen Prunier

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Photo credit: Abby Frenes Photography

Mournful. Haunting. Hesitant. All three words capture the spirit of country singer-songwriter Noreen Prunier’s new single, “Scary as Hell.” Noreen spent the last several months working on the single with producer Gus Berry in East Nashville, and by November 28th, 2014 she released it on iTunes, Spotify, and Noisetrade, where it was featured on “New and Notable,” receiving over 500 downloads.

Originally from Nassau County, New York, Noreen Prunier moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the fall of 2013 to start school at Belmont University and to pursue her career as a singer-songwriter. She may be from New York, but Noreen’s songwriting has a decidedly Southern element to it. This is especially evident on her latest single, which– when coupled with her new photos– is slightly reminiscent of a Flannery O’Connor short story.

“Scary as Hell” opens with a captivating guitar hook that Noreen wrote one day when she was noodling in open E tuning. After several bars, the first verse begins by telling a story about a lost love and the empty promises that left with it. If you’ve ever loved someone and they hurt you it can seem impossible to shake the memory when you meet someone new. This is exactly what Noreen sings about in the chorus when she says, “I’m so afraid of / How this could end up / ‘Cause when I lost him, I lost myself.”

"His eyes knew me / They saw straight through me" Photo credit: Abby Frenes Photography

“His eyes knew me / They saw straight through me” Photo credit: Abby Frenes Photography

After the chorus fades back into the main riff, the second verse echoes more of the fear we heard in the first verse: “You can say you’ll stay / But you sound the same / As the one who made me this way.” The chorus comes back anxiously, building up energy, releasing it into the bridge where Noreen addresses her new lover directly with all the fear and hesitation in her voice she’s been lamenting throughout the song. The bridge then breaks down into a fragile chorus accented by the tiny bell sounds of acoustic guitar harmonics before coming back triumphantly one last time.

The lyrics may be the same, but something about the way Noreen sings the last chorus seems to say that the pain and the fear are still there but she is moving on. The distant and reverberant vocals singing “scary as hell” at the end of the song seem to compliment this feeling just before the song resolves on a strummed guitar.

“Scary as Hell” is one hell of a song from this burgeoning singer-songwriter.

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