From Christine and the Queens to Pip Millett, these have become the soundtracks to solitary life
Amongst the tumultuous start to this new decade, a delicious mix of artists have released soul-saving albums during these past weeks. Like an oasis in a hot desert, these albums are just a few personal highlights that have provided me with a nice plug-in distraction from all the on-going chaos of the outside world. Take a listen with me...
Laura Marling’s Song For Our Daughter
Having been a long-term fan of Laura Marling since her Noah and The Whale days (simpler times I know) the seventh album from the singer songwriter does not disappoint. Lyrically complex, the album is addressed to the singer’s fictitious future daughter. Marling weaves gentle tales laden with experienced wisdom that far surpass her thirty or so years, teaching of love, loss, and the tumultuous joy of being alive. Her infectious mid-Atlantic twang renders the album entirely unique and just lovely, like wrapping your fingers around a mug of coffee on a spring morning.
Favourite song: Strange Girl
Brooke Bentham’s Everyday Nothing
Ever listened to something that just summarises everything you’re going through in life in that current moment? That’s how I felt listening to this album. Everyday Nothing by Brooke Bentham is a painstakingly accurate emotional journey about navigating the existential pit of “working things out” come graduation from university. From grafting through the soul-destroying labour of dead-end jobs, to navigating the world of awkward dates and failed relationships, Bentham delves into what it’s like to try and find a direction in your early twenties. Packed with gorgeous heart-felt ballads that are sombre, resonant, and brimming with emotion.
Favourite song: My Baby Lungs
Christine and the Queens’ La vita Nuova
Christine has always beat to the sound of her own drum; an androgynous blend of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ influences, and of fast and slow beats that weave effortlessly together. La vita Nuova is softer than her previous releases, an emotive electro-pop EP that lends its name from Dante’s 13th century work about the poet’s love for a doomed tragic romance. The melancholy EP explores the aftermath of emotional heartache one feels when having experienced a difficult break-up, flipping between despair to defiance as quickly as Chris flips between French, English, Spanish, and Italian.
Favourite song: Mountains (we met)
Maria McKee’s La vita Nuova
Coincidentally, Maria McKee also borrows her album’s title from the same love poem as Christine, however as far as sound is concerned, the two artists stand at entirely opposite poles. Her first album in 13 years; change, growth, and rebirth are all major themes within La Vita Nuova. It is an intimate and autobiographical work from the former Lone Justice singer. In those 13 years Maria has publicly came out as a queer woman, as well as being an activist for queer and trans rights.
The influence of romantic literature and folk music is also prevalent throughout the tracks, as they hold a poetically beautiful, self-assured maturity in their lyrics. Overall it is a stunningly vulnerable album that celebrates a new and exciting chapter in Maria’s life: grounded, emotive, and wise.
Favourite song: Right down to the heart of London
Agnes Obel’s Myopia
Perhaps my favourite out of this list, Myopia is hauntingly ambient and an atmospheric melancholic mix that demands to be listened to in the twilight hours. It is the perfect backdrop to those reflective late nights where the promise of morning seems so far away. In an interview with The Independent Agnes speaks about her intentions for the album that seem so startingly relevant in these current times: “I wanted to depict that sense of being trapped within a state of mind with very little peripheral vision, where what is left to be seen only gets increasingly intensified.” The album feels suspended in its own moment of deep blue hues: quiet, thoughtful, and at times reminiscent of Kate Bush’s later works. I loved this album and couldn’t recommend a listen enough.
Favourite song: Myopia
Pip Millett’s Lost in June
With warm northern hospitality, Pip Millett invites us all on a ‘meet the family’ journey through Lost in June. An incredibly intimate EP, the tracks are littered with gorgeous voice notes from Pip’s mum passing on her wizened advice and stories that are all too familiar; from chatting about Pip’s father, to how one overcomes times of sadness. The soft RnB album is wrapped in a sepia-toned warmth, transporting the listener to Pip’s home, as if we were sipping a cuppa, overhearing these conversations in the moment.
Favourite song: June