Tianna Esperanza Travails Catharsis on Debut Album “Terror”

Tianna Esperanza
Tianna Esperanza by Shervin Lainez

We might only be two months into the new year but regardless Tianna Esperanza has released undoubtedly one of the top albums of 2023 with the release of their debut Terror. After teasing its release via a string of superb singles that revealed the resolute and stunning depths of her music, the full collection is now available to stream. Ten songs of lush poetics made all the more compelling by Esperanza’s eviscerating vulnerability and rallying spirit. Taking cues from the likes of Nina Simone and Public Enemy, the music that pools within Terror is as much about confronting the blemishes left by life’s darkest moments as it is about emerging from them definitively.


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The opening song and title track are a perfect synthesis of the album’s melodic movements and themes. Against lilting acoustics and Esperanza’s angelic vocals, she sings of violent self-defense she finds herself growing tense with when a man stops to stare. From the death of her young brother to visceral sexual assault “Terror” takes an intimate look at moments of excessive fear and anguish, refusing to turn away from them.

In “Princess Slit and the Raincoat Princess” she crafts a rollicking anthem designed to be an ode to female icons that Esperanza looked up to — including her grandmother Paloma (“Palmolive”) McLardy, who founded the London-based 1970s all-girl punk band The Slits and later played with The Raincoats. Then there are the soulful movements of “Lewis,” a spoken-word track that sees Esperanza ruminating on the ways human life is restricted because of society, prejudice against race, and all the other roadblocks to an individual finding fulfillment.


“Buy You A New Attitude,” with its jumpy guitars and bursts of trumpets, is an elastic-rhythmed piece that feels like a time machine to a bygone decade of big band acts. The album also sees Esperanza join up with three other artists for a trio of songs that make up the final act of Terror. In the melancholic “Hunger” she harmonizes alongside Mick Flannery in desperation panged by longing; “Pick a Stone” features singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata on a searing ballad aglow with piano keys; while “Lone Child” (feat. Valerie June) closes the album on a celebratory note. Esperanza launches her hope on the back of clamorous and rhythmic drumming of undulating tones and vocals that serve as a promise to both listener and Esperanza herself that travailing strife is only temporary.

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Terror the new album from Tianna Esperanza is out now!

Visit Tianna Esperanza on their website, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.

Words: Steven Ward

Listen to Terror the new album from Tianna Esperanza below!

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