It’s brutal to realize, when you’re young, that the peeping curiosity with which older people look at you isn’t the same as respect, and getting attention doesn’t mean having real freedom of action. . Since falling to fame in 2017, and not entirely on her own will, Clairo has been narrowly interpreted through the prism of her generation – keywords: viral, YouTube, chamber pop, POLLEN, bisexuality – as a avatar for sensitive young people more comfortable online. outside, and who speak frankly about their feelings. At Sling, one feels her exhaustion with this framing: “‘She is only 22 years old” “, she quotes anonymous commentators on” Management “, a song closer to the feeling of exhaustion by her career. And so, rejecting the pressure to embody the future, she goes back in time, embracing the touchstones of the past. Sling is his 70s singer-songwriter album, the work of an old soul raised on Carole King, Joni Mitchell and the Carpenters. “Mitchell told me I should be fine,” she foreshadowed on the last record; now she takes over.
If it took Taylor Swift until her eighth album to retreat to the woods and return with a sleek, muted folk collection, then Clairo has a head start. Recorded in the mountains of upstate New York with Jack Antonoff, Sling features vocal harmonies that sound like sparkling sighs, blues electric guitar moans and many minor pianos. Nothing really looks like a “hit”; the only single, the aforementioned “Blouse”, sounds like Elliott Smith’s “Say Yes” tucked away in a sleepy winter cabin. Instead of the intoxicating ambiguities of young love, there are themes Clairo once believed to be “too emotional or too intense to unravel”: “Motherhood, sexualization, sanity, and many of my own mistakes and regrets,” such as she wrote it in a recent newsletter. You can read the album, like many second artist projects, as an attempt to prove seriousness and maturity, to illustrate a depth beyond what originally made it famous. For Clairo, Sling was a necessity: “This record changed everything for me, because I was going to stop music altogether”, she declared. Rolling stone.
His songs are more wordy than ever, engraved with proper names and specifics – his friend Claud, the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, the Syracuse intersection between Comstock and Waverly. The grainy and incisive lyrics are further proof of his songwriting talent, but they can also be more difficult to penetrate. (From “Zinnias”: “I have a cold piece of information to bring you, said” Sorry but I can’t stay here while we wait for June. “) Clairo has always been an Island artist, listening to nuances of private thought. But her previous songs were quiet conversations with other people, or at least her imagination of them – “Sofia, know that you and I / shouldn’t feel like a crime,” she sang. – and their simplicity offered them a kind of openness. Here, Clairo is often alone, sparking more knotty and more specific anxieties. “I blocked the month of February for support / At least I have this year, I will not worry anyone on tour / … I throw my glass in the face of my disappearance”, she sings on the pastoral, like a lullaby ”Only for today. By his own admission, anything but Sling‘its need for a “constant context”; she seems happy that some of this knowledge is on her own.
There are real risks here: that the music is so sober and tasteful that it becomes a nap, that when you wake up you lose the glow of your eyes. The calm and occasional opacity of Sling reminds me of a recurring complaint about Clairo’s stage presence, that she is too withdrawn and shy to reach her audience. “If she says something meaningful between songs, only the front rows can hear it,” one said. Guardian see again. Singing on Sling does little to dispel this image. In her weakest moments Clairo assumes a low, hoarse whisper or mumbles as if she is under the covers late at night, though her voice can also be exceptionally pretty, swelling with pearly “oohs” and golden harmonies. . Sling is, in many ways, a curiously timed record, yearning for domesticity, sobriety, and sluggishness in life at a time when many people crave indiscipline and spontaneity. “Rush so I can beat the line,” she yells over “Bambi,” in one of the more poetic lines on the album. “But what if all I want is conversation and time?” “
There is a lesson in Slingirregular structures, about the fact that if the present doesn’t move you, you can wait a few moments for something new to happen. Sometimes a song plays slowly, then a breeze blows and speeds up the tempo, until you feel like you’re walking down the street with tap dancing. In the middle of “Bambi” is an ambulatory brass section so waltzing and pleasant that you have the impression that a stranger can seemingly take his hat off to you. It is an album of progressive beauty, each successive listening revealing new waves and hues. One of Sling the most vibrant and glorious moments occur on “Wade”, shortly after Clairo whispered that decades of his life were wasting away. The song slows down, as if to allay his anxiety: the woods flutter like bluebirds, everything vanishes in relief. Sling can be an album concerned with time, fears of obsolescence instilled by a vampiric music industry. But he also finds exuberance in stillness, a kind of gentle relief.
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