At twenty years old, Alex Strasser has been writing songs for over ten years, but she didn’t let the world hear them until recently. Strasser’s second EP, “Good Listener,” was released on Feb.12, a year after her first EP, “I Don’t Like Parties,” and five months after another single, “Closed Door”. Featuring three songs surrounding experiences of not feeling heard, the relatable situations and responses of “Good Listener” help listeners understand they are not alone in their desire to be recognized.
“Songwriting is my way to cope with new experiences and people. That’s why I write so many sad songs,” Strasser said in an interview.
Inspired by the storytelling techniques of Taylor Swift, Conan Gray and Julia Michaels, Strasser’s simple, stripped-down music accentuates her immediate reactions to the world.
A current senior at Liberty University, Strasser finds time to write, record, produce and release music all on her own while simultaneously earning a degree. She says that writing and producing songs doesn’t feel like work to her so Strasser uses music to escape after long days.
This EP opens with its titular song, “Good Listener,” which sets a bitter tone that the following songs build off as those around Strasser refuse to stop and listen to what she has to say. The most commercial song on the EP has a simple guitar line accompanying meaningful lyrics about wanting the people around you to recognize you as a person with feelings, not just someone they can talk to.
A drumline grows during the bridge, building suspense and adding to the feeling of desire. Strasser wants to scream, “Listeners need listeners too!” at those around her but instead lets her feelings build up inside and listens to everyone else’s problems. The song concludes gradually with the line, “I wish you would listen, too,” and a single guitar strum as Strasser realizes her cry for support will never be heard.
While she uses her music to tell the world how she is feeling now, writing and singing songs did not start this way for a young Strasser. As far back as age 9, she remembers writing meaningless songs for herself. It wasn’t until the end of middle school that she decided to be intentional about her music and write cohesive songs.
In her youth, Strasser suffered from intense stage fright. In high school, right before moving to Colorado, Strasser decided to overcome her fear at a Christian retreat. After shocking her audience with an expressive and dynamic voice that filled the entire room, Strasser gained the confidence to pursue music publicly. She learned to play the guitar and harmonize, writing more songs about her world.
The EP closes with Strasser’s personal favorite song, “Blurry Person.” Using a piano accompaniment again, Strasser emphasizes feeling invisible after a long day. Raw, unfiltered emotions filled Strasser to her breaking point one night and led to the fastest song she’s produced.
“I had gotten in a fight with this person who wasn’t listening to what I was saying, and I just wanted them to recognize me. I walked upstairs, wrote the song and produced it that night,” Strasser said.
While some artists feel like they write for their audience, Strasser remains true to herself by releasing music close to her heart. She hopes listeners relate to her experiences and enjoy her depictions of the world but she says, “as long as I get to release my songs, and I like them, that’s enough.”
The relatability of “Good Listener” makes the EP feel like finally having a voice when the world is working to shut yours down, bringing listeners a sense of being seen and recognized even if they are experiencing the opposite.
You can listen to “Good Listener” here.
Contact CU Independent Guest Writer Lauren Gero at firstname.lastname@example.org.