When you think of Blair Waldorf, the first thing that pops into your head is probably not folk music, but Leighton Meester's new album Heartstrings may change that. The actress releases her debut full-length CD on Oct. 28, but ELLE posted an exclusive first listen at the whole thing Friday. Though everyone is talking about another big album coming out next week (including me), I think that Taylor Swift's 1989 can share a little bit of the spotlight with Meester, because Heartstrings is absolutely fantastic.
Unlike the club music that Meester released in the height of Gossip Girl — remember "Somebody to Love," featuring Robin Thicke? — her new music is ethereal and stripped down. It reminds me a lot of classic Joni Mitchell mixed with Laura Marling, A Fine Frenzy, and even a little Jenny Lewis. Meester told ELLE that she recorded the whole album with a live band, describing the music as "sensitive" and "sort of guarded but also open and vulnerable and triumphant." It's also released on her own record label, Hotly Wanting Records, proving that she's more of a Dan Humphrey than a Blair Waldorf in real life.
Her music isn't as easy to decode as Swift's, but I can't help but wonder which tracks are about her husband, Adam Brody. If "Good For One Thing" is autobiographical, perhaps they started out as friends with benefits. "You're good for one thing, Ican't help but calling you out," she sings. "But you're so lovely I can't behave myself." Both that song and "On My Side" have toe-tapping beats and a mix of great harmonies and rhythmic clapping, the base of some of my favorite folk songs. The title track "Heartstrings" is also fantastic, which you can watch her perform below.