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Arlo Parks - Collapsed In Sunbeams

I first heard Arlo Parks sing when she featured in one of Dave Bayley’s (frontman of Glass Animals) ‘quarantine covers’ where they did their own take on Hotline Bling. After that, I immediately had to listen to her entire discography and I discovered that along with having a smooth and soulful voice, she’s an honest and heartfelt song writer. Ever since then I've been looking forward to hearing what she releases next, and now we finally have her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams. When I first listened to this album, I was not disappointed. It is easy to see why so many other artists are already fans of hers. The warmth of her music can make even the bleakest of winter days feel like summer, which I think is something we could all do with right now.

Parks has taken R&B and contemporary soul from the early 2000s and has brought them up to date and given them a modern indie vibe. She has had high praise from the critics with this album and she’s expected to be one of the new artists to blow up this year. With a wave of retro indie music suddenly emerging, Arlo Parks has managed to keep her style unique with her natural class and poetry-like lyrics. Now and then, we even get a verse in spoken word, expressing the significance of the lyrics she writes. Any of these songs could make it onto a lo-fi playlist, the album itself is a collection of well-made songs which are reassuring and empathetic. Airy guitars played over minimal beats create the perfect backdrop for her vocals. This works very well with the softness of her voice, with Eugene being a great example of a laid-back song musically. It has interesting harmonies and quiet synths which gives the songs a subtlety that adds a sense of ease to it and the same can be said for the whole album.

The laid-back melodies in songs like Hurt and Black Dog are often a contrast to the intensity of some of the themes. She often talks about struggles with depression throughout this album along with heartbreak and self-expression. “it’s so cruel what your mind can do for no reason” is a powerful line that gets repeated throughout Black Dog. While the lyrics are mostly pessimistic there are undertones of hope that can be found in some of the songs on this album like the song Hurt. The song Hope repeats the lyric “you are not alone like you think you are” in a way that reassures the listener. These songs come across very personal, as if these songs have come straight out of her diary. Caroline exemplifies this, she sings about an argument she witnessed where some of the best lyrics on the album where written. The way she talks about the details such as “strawberry cheeks flushed with defeated rage” in such a pretty way are what makes this album so interesting to listen to. The chorus in Caroline is one of my favourites out of the whole album, it’s satisfying to listen to whilst being very clever lyrically. She also sings about her insecurities and struggles with being herself, discussing issues she and people in her life have with sexuality and mental health. She highlights the hardships many people go through without being forceful, her lyrics are a reminder to people that they’re not along in their struggles. Not only is this album uplifting to listen to, the lyrics are real and understanding. This relatability is what gives this album its edge.

It is clear that Arlo Parks has created a brilliantly heartfelt and compassionate album that’s very personal and while she’s taken some inspiration from other artists, she has managed to create her own style that’s unique to her. I have very much enjoyed listening to Collapsed in Sunbeams and am looking forward to hearing what Arlo Parks releases next. Her distinctive voice will definitely be heard by many as her popularity grows. I can imagine her sounding very good live and I’m sure she’ll be great on her tour, whenever that can happen. So, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you listen to Arlo Parks’ new album Collapsed in Sunbeams.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

Listen to Collapsed In Sunbeams on Spotify here.

Follow Arlo Parks on Spotify here.

Follow Arlo Parks on Instagram here.

All After Midnight links are here.

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