By Sufjan Stevens
The tenth studio album by American musician Sufjan Stevens, Javelin, released via Asthmatic Kitty Records, is a tribute to the artist’s late partner. The opener Goodbye Evergreen sets the tone, with its sombre vibe which goes on to turn celebratory – it pays homage to a life that once was with a choir – a recurring element throughout the album.
The acoustic guitar on A Running Start complements the soft energy of the track in which Stevens seems to be asking his beloved to linger on a little longer, possibly drawing parallels between their presence and nature; “I see the light upon the lake/ The silver moon, the water snake”.
The title track is intense and further delves into the theme – death. Once again, you will find Stevens thinking (read singing) aloud, his thoughts interwoven with stringsy melodies, forming a pattern against the “Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh” of the choir.
Every song feels like a peek into the innermost corners of the singer and lover’s heart; unsaid words, angsty silences… however, hope floats. The closing track There’s A World revolves around the afterlife – a light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re looking for something to listen on a winter’s night, this one fits the bill.
By Hannah Diamond
British singer and visual artist Hannah Diamond has dropped her second studio album Perfect Picture via PC Music and it’s a thorough pop fest.
At first, you might think the songs have undertones of love and breakups. However, over the course of the album, you realise it’s much deeper than that.
The title track underpins the struggle of keeping up with the ‘perfect picture’ – public image.
Again, on No FX, Diamond sings “You love me with no effects on”, which hints at the struggle that is maintaining one’s social image. On Poster Girl, we see the artist longing to be like the girl in the magazine, suggesting an internal conflict.
Lip Sync is in keeping with the overarching theme of this musical creation. Diamond’s auto-tuned vocals explore perspective and self-image – “Maybe, one day I’ll be the real thing”.
Affirmations is a pick-me-up with positive undertones. “I don’t have to be somebody else/The best version of me is myself”, sings Diamond.
Electropop tunes lend the album a lively, playful vibe. If you’re looking for a club-friendly album to groove to, try this one.