Thanks to Ailish for this recommendation.
I’ve long been a fan of Paramore – the pop-punk group fronted by Hayley Williams – since the release of their debut Riot!, and the appearance of its best song, “Misery Business”, is one of the versions of video game Rock Band; I decided I needed to master the song on Expert skill level, and ended up falling in love with the track.
Williams recently set out on her own, releasing this album in early 2021. In contrast to Paramore, its a minimal, pseudo-folk affair – relaxed beats are joined by a little guitar (most of it acoustic), a lot of piano, and Williams’ voice, more soulful, or perhaps mournful, than it presents on the work of her band.
Opening track “First Thing To Go” finds Williams mourning a long lost love, singing “first thing to go was the sound of his voice, I / It echoes still, I’m sure but I can’t hear it” over a simple acoustic guitar part. “My Limb” and “Asystole” continue an anatomical theme, before the album starts to find itself in “Trigger”, the first true highlight, a stream of consciousness set to piano chord and guitar riff.
Lyrically, this album might be Williams’ best work; later album track finds her singing “There was a bird who never flew / But she still kept all of her feathers / So she could pluck ’em out for you / And you could wear them in your hair and / She’d be with you”, just one example of some gorgeous wordplay.
Musically, I found it a little contrived – its very Folklore/Evermore, with a sprinkling of Fleetwood Mac.
But it’s ultimately forgivable. This is a good album.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.