Clairo has finally come out with her 2nd album, Sling. Now, I am a huge Clairo stan. Ever since I first heard Immunity, it’s been an album I’ve had a huge connection with. It’s one of the few albums me and my friends both love, and many songs from it are some of my favorites of all time (Bags, Sinking, etc). And so with this new album, I had pretty high expectations, especially since the single, Blouse, seemed to point the album in a more folk-pop direction. And I am incredibly happy to say that Sling surpassed every single expectation I had for it.
Sling takes that step into folk-pop territory that was signaled by Blouse, with the entire album taking this quieter approach, and it works wonders. Clairo’s singing is the best its ever been, and her songwriting is too. Every single aspect of Clairo as an artist is complimented by the production so well.
And speaking of that, I want to thank Jack Antonoff HARD for the production on this album. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why I doubted him so much considering how much I usually like his other production, but WOW he adds a ton to this album in a way nobody else could. He NAILS that folk-pop sound, with specific highlights like Amoeba, Reaper, and Just For Today (trust me, we’ll get to them later).
And with Clairo’s songwriting, it takes an even more introspective approach than before. It’s Clairo learning to have more respect for herself, and coping with previous experiences/her current shortcomings, in her eyes. And her chorus-writing game has gotten even better from how it was on Immunity, which was quite possibly Immunity’s strongest aspect. I’m just saying, Amoeba’s hook is one of my favorite hooks of the year.
And in terms of musical influences, this album pulls from folk-pop and pop of the past (specifically on songs like Amoeba). It’s a complete left-turn from anything on Immunity, and it’s done almost flawlessly. On songs like “Just For Today,” it’s very stripped back instrumentation is nothing like the production on Immunity, where most of the songs were just complete bursts of energy (Sofia, North, etc). But that doesn’t mean the energy is completely gone (see the aforementioned Amoeba). And to mention a song outside of just Amoeba and Just For Today, the opener has a nice little groove to it, and is definitely one of the highlights in terms of instrumentation.
But to go back to those 2 tracks, I want to highlight them because they’re my 2 favorites on here. Amoeba is a tribute to pop of times past, and it has one of the catchiest hooks (if not THE catchiest) I’ve heard all year. And the instrumentation (especially that piano) nails the aesthetic perfectly.
But the absolute best song on here is easily Just For Today. The songwriting on here, is painfully heartbreaking yet optimistic in tone. And Clairo’s singing is, yet again, in its best shape. And yes, Clairo’s songwriting is as sharp as ever on here. “Since when did taking time take all my life” is easily one of my favorite lines this year.
But before I close out this review, I want to discuss the background behind this album. I read a Rolling Stone interview where it details how she recorded this album mostly secluded from the outside world, and she isolated herself mostly to get away from the constant rush of life. Clairo is someone who’s constantly been in the spotlight ever since blowing up 3 and a half years ago. And it shows in the music how her life has slowed down for the better. Sling is an ode to optimism, staring yourself in the face and assuring yourself you can be better. It’s a tribute to the future, realizing your regrets but deciding your future is more important. But, above all, it is an absolutely amazing album. Thank you, Clairo.
(Sorry if this review was short/not the greatest, but I just really wanted to write it because this album already means so much to me. Thank you all so much for everything.)