Nico Padden’s ‘The Last Time’ presents a no-frills perspective

Nico Padden is a one-woman folk-rock riot. It’s a statement fully supported by his new album, pirate queen (January 28), which celebrates the strength of the fierce and brave women in her life – including herself. “The Last Time,” out today, is a no-frills breakup song, a battle cry of sorts that clearly expresses Padden’s approach to men and relationships. This is the second single from the album, which offers a mix of Americana, vintage pop/rock and folk.

The song follows the release of the title track, a tribute to the nickname Padden’s fans gave him. Glide Magazine notes how the “piano ballad draws inspiration from ’90s piano pop and rock, with layered orchestration to build on the drama of the song”, and mentions that Padden “displays his vocal range as she lays out the chorus with soulful affirmation.”

pirate queen is to take back the crown that is rightfully yours, even if it is by unorthodox means. To write the album, Padden drew on both personal experience and reading extensively about the real life pirate queens of history, particularly Grace O’Malley, Mary Read and Anne Bonny. She also spent time sailing New York’s Great South Bay. The ocean and sailing references are prominent and provide a common thread running through all the material.

The songs on pirate queen, particularly “The Death of the Princess”, reflect Padden’s experiences drawing strength and wisdom from the women who came before her. Specifically, the song is inspired by Padden’s maternal grandmother, whom she lived with for the last five years of her life before passing away at 98. Padden found strength in the midst of grief when she thought about their shared similarities.

“Burning Rome to the Ground”, written after Padden spoke publicly about sexual harassment, examines the ways in which women and marginalized groups must assert themselves and defend their own autonomy and humanity; the song is ultimately about the strength of people who have faced oppression by working together and dismantling outdated and no longer working systems. “Pay the Piper” is the product of feelings of frustration over past mistakes.

Padden wrote “Four Hands on the Helm” as a love song for her husband; it’s about finding ways to steer the collective ship equally, as equal partners dedicated to overcoming trauma and difficult times and ultimately improving their lives together. “Mother & Father,” as the title suggests, is a dedication to Padden’s parents and all the sacrifices they made along the way. Padden describes them as a combination that makes the perfect recipe for a singer-songwriter: part poet who wants to be alone and write sad songs, part scene-lover who wants people to listen to them sing all the time. It’s her love song to them for making her who she is.

Padden wrote “27 Heartbeats” after hearing the story of Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, the Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher who saved the lives of her 15 students by hiding them in a tiny bathroom and keeping silent in the midst of an unthinkable tragedy.

“Bar on 63rd” captures the feeling of diligently clinging to hope despite much discouragement and struggle; on a walk home in December after a less than perfect gig, Padden found herself catching lightning in a bottle and rushing home, writing the entire song in less than an hour.

“Pirate Queen is ultimately an uplifting celebration of my strength as a woman who thinks outside the box, much like the pirate queens of history who have inspired me,” says Padden. “I hope the album is a comfort, a balm and a battle cry for those identified as women who also wish to reclaim their rightful crown.”

Comments are closed.