In her second studio album, American singer-songwriter Clairo presents an impeccable poetry, combined with a refined folk-pop production. Although her vocal performance might be weak at (very few) times, it’s a good album when that is its biggest issue.
First of all, the biggest improvement for Clairo in ‘Sling’ is the production. Jack Antonoff’s work is mostly immaculate. It only falls short in tracks like ‘Little Changes’, where I feel there’s a void around Clairo’s voice that needs to be filled up with something, her vocal performance in that track doesn’t help a lot either. One of its best moments is at the very beginning of it, in the intro of ‘Bambi’, the guitars have a beautiful ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell!’ vibes –fun fact: that album was produced by Jack Antonoff too–, then we have the enigmatic drums of ‘Partridge’, the constantly switching sound of ‘Wade’, the switch by the end of ‘Harbor’, and, obviously, the almost five-minute instrumental interlude, ‘Joanie’. The only three issues I find regarding the production are: that it often gets too loud and drags Clairo’s soft vocals down (fortunately, it happens rarely); that sometimes I would really like if her vocals were a little more powerful; and that the song ‘Zinnias’ ends too suddenly and that doesn’t look very good. Anyways, it’s a good sign when those are its biggest issues.
Even though the greatest improvement I saw in ‘Sling’ was the production, the best here is Clairo’s absolutely flawless poetry: in an album where eleven out of twelve tracks have lyrics, I couldn’t find a single questionable, bad, or cringy line. So here are some of the best takes I found:
But I show up to the party just to leave – ‘Amoeba’
I could wake up with a baby and a sling
Just a couple doors down from Abigail
My sister, man, and her ring – ‘Zinnias’
Why do I tell you how I feel
When you’re too busy looking down my blouse?
It’s something I wouldn’t say out loud
If touch could make them hear, then touch me now – ‘Blouse’
There’s memories to be made – ‘Wade’
And two pats on the back, it just takes time
It’s getting late
Since when did taking time take all my life? – ‘Just for Today’
I’ll spare you pain, I can feel my shame creep through the floor
I can’t fuck it up if it’s not there at all – ‘Reaper’.
Well, this was ‘Sling’, a huge improvement for Clairo and undoubtedly one of the most interesting releases this year.
BEST TRACKS: ‘Bambi’ ∙ ‘Amoeba’ ∙ ‘Zinnias’ ∙ ‘Wade’ ∙ ‘Joanie’ ∙ ‘Reaper’
WORST TRACK: ‘Little Changes’
Genre(s): indie pop, singer-songwriter, folk