Thief is an acoustic alt-country ballad about moving on from a traumatic situation, seeing it from a different perspective with the benefits of growth and hindsight while also admitting how much it hurt. It’s a melancholic and beautiful mix brought together mostly by the excellent vocal performance of Emily Nicole Green.
Right from the start, her delivery maintains this enigmatic and bold style, as if for every one thing she is saying, there are ten things she’s holding back. I think this adds to the appeal of the track as if we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of her story. Her vocals ebb and flow with the composition brilliantly, leading the energy of the track and setting the pace while also demonstrating her great vocal range, not only in her register but also in the diversity of energy she can bring to the table, with quiet melancholic verses and loud, emotionally cathartic choruses. Emotion spills out of her performance, you get a sense that she’s singing from the heart. That connection elevates the lyrics.
I specifically like the motif “You didn’t break me, only I can do that”. It takes ownership of her trauma in a way that feels bold and powerful, admitting to herself how strong she can be when she doesn’t amplify her sadness and instead roots for herself to grow beyond it.
Her vocals are aided by an instrumental mostly built on a gentle piano part and subtle drumming. The piano works in tandem with the melody she’s built up, adding a sense of unity that elevates her performance as well as a harmony that lets specific parts of her vocal register soar with their contrast.
The drums have this subtle tension adding to the frustration behind some of the song lyrics, as well as injecting energy with a rhythmic foundation and a sense of pace.
The track is a heartfelt and honest recollection of a relationship gone wrong. The execution is powerful, allowing space for the emotion to shine through. More importantly, the song has a strong message of growing from trauma by taking ownership of it in the process of moving on.