A stripped back, stunningly serene, astonishingly powerful project like Clairo’s sophomore effort, “Sling” is something to not skip over and to take note of as it surprisingly enough became one of my favorite projects of the year.
If you were to be asked about an artist that has been overlooked as a “industry plant” or mediocre artist, you may think of a lot of other singer-songwriters from entertainment over the years, but the artist that comes to my mind specifically is Clairo. I have always tried to take an artist as who they are, regardless if they deserved their position in the industry as I feel art should be taken to a higher degree than the way a person reached their spot, especially when it doesn’t bypass morality. Clairo over the years has been a prime suspect for this do to relations in the music industry via nepotism, but that isn’t important as she eventually proved everyone’s doubts wrong in her debut studio album, “Immunity” in 2019.
Immunity proves a lot of things when it comes to Clairo’s music, and whether or not you enjoy her music, most can agree on these aspects. It proves that there is actual effort put into the art that is being showcased through her music, and that she is not what a lot of people are saying for her to be. Even though Immunity did not knock everything out of the park and had a vast amount of its own problems, it’s nearly undeniable that there it is a glimpse of her sheer potential in music. At this point, she was already in the public eye, but she almost needed to prove herself to the majority of the public to make herself out to be an actual outstander in the business, and with her newest, she really did it.
I can not put into simpler terms that Clairo has immensely grown as an artist with this new project. Where do I even start? The elegance of the simplistic instrumentals allows for Clairo to masterfully use her vocal harmonies to extend off the production into an angelic performance. One of my gripes from her last project was that Clairo struggled to create interesting harmonies and melodies that set herself apart, but with this album it seems to be the perfect usage of it due to it’s stripped back nature where it can actually shine and pop out.
With story-telling, Clairo has also seemed to not grip onto it in the past as she hasn’t developed that much in her lyric writing ability. But with two years of time and isolation from 2020's pandemic, Clairo was able to create a meaningful story about her trauma’s and personal life that 1. Is unique 2. Is interesting and 3. Completely matches the overall theme sonically. Tracks like “Harbor” seem to be almost a magnum opus for the artist not only sonically but lyrically as it showcases a tear jerking narrative that is backed by a powerful and heavenly production/vocals that completely expels out more passion and/or emotion.
All of that being said, there are some clear problems to this project, although not exactly shining through it’s overall greatness but is noticeable when looking for things to dislike about the project. Generally not an amazing practice, but when you look at the album for what it is, it’s sometimes hard to ignore. The first thing that comes to mind is Clairo’s voice. For most of the review I have praised her vocal harmonies/melodies but with her main vocal performances throughout the verses/choruses, it seems to blend in throughout each track. With more emotion in these main stage performances, I feel like the project can excel even more if done correctly. What we have is great, but can easily be much better. I also believe that this album could’ve also easily passed off as a simple EP in her discography. Although having more than enough tales to tell than the average album, I think the EP format fits in quite well in speaking in terms of length. I think either a few more interesting moments throughout tracks could keep the twelve track length style afloat, but if that wasn’t an aim, then removing one to two of these tracks could easily do it as well. Some of the songs share it’s subject matter and instrumentals to the point where they can easily replace each other on the tracklist. If the album was more refined, it could honestly be even better than it already is.
Clairo’s second album takes everything that’s loved about Clairo, throws it out the window, and reinvents an even newer love and passion for her music. Everything being stunningly serene and a large left turn from her past, but this simply was the direction she needed to go into. She ultimately knocked it out of the park and made something worthwhile and accessible for newcomers into her music. I feel a lot of people can find things to love and hate about this album, but I find myself on the side that adores the album. Sure, there are problems with this project, but the concept of it alone was the greatest direction that the young artist could take, and I feel in the future, this could be further extended on and an even more perfected album can take place. This is a feel-good, warm story of Clairo, although sugar coated with its sound, it is deep/darkened in it’s meaning. A more refined version is wanted, but is it what we need? No, nothing really is needed in a new project by Clairo because by taking this for what it is and what it strives to be, it excels greatly.
Favorite Tracks: Bambi, Amoeba, Blouse, Harbor, Reaper, Management
Least Favorite Track: Joanie