AOTY 2023
Clairo - Immunity
Feb 18, 2021
MWE - Day 18 - 18/02/2021

Going into it, Immunity was probably the album I was least anticipating out of all the albums on my list of stuff to listen to for MWE. A lot of this can be attributed to the somewhat mixed response this album receives from those who listen to it. On the one hand, there are some people who believe this is the pinnacle of soft, lowkey bedroom pop, and somewhat herald it as a modern classic. Conversely, there are those who think this is bland and vapid, and that Clairo herself is a "industry plant", a term I've always hated to be honest. It takes away from the effort and enthusiasm put into a project, of which its apparent that this album has plenty of, which I took away from the track "Bags" alone (the only song I'd heard prior to listening to the record). So I did want to see what side of the fence I would have been on upon first listen to such a polarising release.

"Alewife" is a very airy and ambient start to the album, where Clairo's soft croon makes it a very dreamy start to the album. However personally I find the percussion to really take away from what could have been a very pretty sounding song, the drums just drown everything out and feel really out of place as a result. "Impossible" is even more frustrating a listen, as the mixing on this track is quite frankly dreadful, where everything is piled on top of each other so haphazardly that there's nothing to really pull out of it that stands out. The first track that I can say I enjoyed somewhat would have been "Closer to you", with its subtle use of autotune adding a layer of flair to Clairo's vocals that's quite frankly much needed. It's also one of the more trimmed down instrumentals, that really accentuates the power in the lyrics nicely. It's the moments of simplicity that really do it for me on this album, which is why a song like "Bags" worked so well for me prior to listening to this. The simple guitar lines and subtle ambience that lingers in the background makes this just a really sweet indie pop tune.

The second half has its highlights and lowlights too. The song Sofia is a bit of head-scratcher, with these odd dance beats thrown into the mix that really seem out of place both on the album, and over Clairo's vocals. It also once again suffers from some rather shoddy mixing, and production, a slightly too often running problem with the album to me. "White Flag" is one of the more airy tracks here, and similarly to the opening track, it's where the track incorporates the overly compressed instrumentation into it that the track loses the gravitas that it may have had. "Feel Something" has one of the more moving vocal performances on the album, despite that rather standard instrumental attached. However once again, it's the simplistic nature of the song that really does it justice, as it allows Claire to do what she does best. The closing track is final highlight for me, with the light pianos and harmonies putting the spotlight on Clairo and her storytelling, and really does end the album on a high note for me.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle with Immunity. On the one hand, there's a huge amount of potential demonstrated with the songwriting, and occasional smatters of great production. But all in all, I just found myself frustrated with too many aspects of the album really. It's a case of an album I respect more than enjoy.

Standout: Bags
Favs: I wouldn't ask you, Closer to you, Feel Something
Least fav: Impossible

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More Reviews by Houdanny
Clairo - Sling
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