Album Review: Kelsy Karter, Missing Person

Kelsy Karter’s new album Missing Person is a 36 minute, 42 second glam-rock romp through delightfully electric-guitar-filled soundscapes. Karter, who rose to fame by getting global sensation Harry Styles’ face temporarily tattooed on her face as a promotional stunt, harkens back to old-school, unapologetically dramatic rock with her vocals, instrumentation, and lyricism.


The opener “You Only Die Once” is a fittingly upbeat track to begin a fun-filled journey through a tumultuous relationship and the escapades of rock and roll.


“Goodness Gracious” keeps the energy up, outlining the honeymoon era of a relationship with its roots in rebellion. 


However, “Stick to Your Guns,” previously released as a single, seems out of place so early in the album. It’s an empowerment anthem not unlike a modern, rock iteration of I Will Survive, which would endear it to radio but doesn’t serve the narrative arc of the album.


Fourth track “I’m So Mad At Him” returns to that arc, nakedly presenting three minutes of slightly feigned anger over multiple petty (and not so petty) offenses.


It could be inferred that Karter doesn’t actually break up with the man she’s so mad at, as on “Devil on my Shoulder,” a bounce-inducing track rife with lines ready for Instagram captions, she sings in her distinctive New Zealand accent about how she doesn’t really want to leave.


The relationship starts breaking apart with the softer track “Villain” halfway through the album, where Karter croons about how she’s become the villain between her and her paramour.


On “Love Me or Hate Me,” Karter returns to being the life of the party, scream-singing interspersed with more rah-rah self-love.


“God Knows I’ve Tried” is a nice reflection on past mistakes, the kind of song that Karter’s persona would sing hungover in a bathtub. It’s an especially nice showcase of her vocal abilities and one of the standout songs on the album.


“Catch Me If You Can” is an exceedingly fun rock track but not particularly notable in the context of the album.


A poetic interlude is placed unusually but fittingly late before last track “Liquor Store on Mars,” a rock ballad previously released as a single and surely the best song on the album.


The album closes with an acoustic audio snippet of the opener “You Only Die Once,” attempting to bring the album full circle. While poignant, it doesn’t seem to serve its intended purpose well.


In all, the project, at least three years coming, is a strangely organized collection of songs that might well have better been released as singles, as exactly half of the 12 tracks had. While it’s sonically fantastic all the way through, its theatrical narrative arc including escapism (to Mars), self-love, and rebellion seems incohesive. 


Best for: quarantined dance parties, getting over an ex, reminiscing about the fun times you would be having if it wasn’t for the pandemic

Worth listening to if only for: culling edgy Insta captions


Runtime: 36 minutes, 42 seconds

Title: Missing Person

Artist: Kelsy Karter

Label: BMG Records

Release Date: October 2, 2020