Hana Vu just isn't one for bullshit. She makes overtly emotional music, to be sure, but always with a certain pointed bluntness. Equal parts hopeless romantic and weary realist, the young artist works in worlds beyond her years. She's finally gotten out of California, seeing some of the world on tour for her debut double EP, How Many Times Have You Driven By, moved out of her folks’ place, and chosen her path by going with music over college acceptance letters.

Her latest release, Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway - yet another double EP - is undeniably formed by these changing circumstances. She may still be working from a batch of songs written as her high school years came to a close, but Hana Vu's voice has a new edge to it, self-aware enough to see the change in status that's done nothing at all. She may be a fledgling indie darling, but she's still local enough to feel alone 'At the Party’.

Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway explores the slowly unraveling, encroaching hometown world of its creator, perhaps less lost than its predecessor, but certainly more dour. How Many Times Have You Driven By ended on exploratory note, as 'Start' boldly stepped out towards a new, changing world.

Her latest seems to stand in answer to those hopes, with Vu returning to realize little has changed. She's still plagued by that gnawing uncertainty, and seems to be coming to terms with the fact that it might not ever leave her. She's given up on the hope of epiphany.

The boldest departure here is in the music. Determined to go beyond any “bedroom pop” label, Vu has largely left behind any easy, addictive flourishes of quirk, instead knuckling down into a simplified, moody state. It makes for quite a cohesive listen, one that demands introspection and multiple plays.

She isn't above being petty. Indeed, what makes Vu's songwriting so universal is her simultaneous knack for self-pity and clinical self-observation. First track and lead single 'At the Party' finds her imagining a crush hearing Vu’s music at a social gathering, wishing it'd make them notice her. It could easily be an emotion-masking a stunt, a la Drake's 'Shot for Me', but instead it quickly leans into insecurity: “Does it make you fall in love with me?/ Oh, no, I'll never be good enough.” The constant mixture of fabricated hubris and mood-shattering doubt, infinitely relatable, making for, above all, starkly human pop. She even manages to inject her anxiety into a biting spin on Disney's Mulan’s 'Reflection'. Amidst the fear and doubt, 'Fighter' shows a bit of optimism, and it's a beautiful tune, but even her wistful wishes of, “I wanna be a hero/ I wanna save you/ I wanna save me,” carry a sense of hopelessness, Vu sadly sneering at her own naive soul, rather than anything resembling an embrace.

Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway plays like the thoughts of one who's never had all too much hope to begin with clinging to what little that remains. When Vu gets all the way down to, “You don't cry for me/ But I want you to,” on 'Menu', it's hard to imagine she could go much further. This EP exists in something nearing a state of crisis. Therein lies a surprising amount of power. Far from easy to swallow, Hana Vu takes lemons and gives you a seminar on sourness. Bitter thanks are due.