Album Review: Samia’s “Honey”

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Singer-songwriter Samia has a reputation for effortlessly telling coming of age stories through her emotionally intellectual lyrics; there are no rocks left unturned or feelings unsung. “Honey” is her sophomore album, and arguably her most striking musical collection to date. It reflects on hindsight and the future, occasionally narrating the present when the situation demands it. These unguarded stories reflect on and build off of lessons learned in her debut, with each track tenderly capturing the many faces of her youth.

“Kill Her Freak Out”, a confessional lead single that is just as intense as the title suggests, opens a doorway into her darkest thoughts: “I’ve never felt so unworthy of loving” she admits, setting up for one of her most vulnerable sentiments to date “I hope you marry the girl from your hometown/ And I’ll f****** kill her/ And I’ll f****** freak out”. Her words break a streak of holding words back from somebody, a feeling she recalls as cathartic. She clarified the song’s dark nature in a press release stating “I didn’t want to kill anyone, obviously, I just wanted to yell. It sort of marks the end of The Baby‘s story”. 

The second song in this record is “Charm You” in which, alongside an acoustic melody, she reminds its subject of her need for independence. It’s unclear whether this comes from a place of genuinity or a fear of losing herself in love again (“I don’t wanna make anybody mine/ Mostly it’s just I don’t wanna end up crying”). Perhaps the most charming (pun intended) part of this track is that it’s left up to individual interpretation. 

Samia moves backwards in twin singles “Pink Balloon” and “Sea Lions”, which recount stagnancy born from angst and are each mutually confused; it seems as if both parties in the relationship won’t let go, but also doesn’t want to hold on anymore. “Sea Lions”  is named after the swimmers in the screensaver of somebody she occasionally dwells on: “Wear my hat that you hate to the party/ And laugh at the movie posters/ We’ll never be like those lucky poseurs”. The electronic closing strays from the sound of her other projects, featuring an AI’s puzzled association of various words. It’s entirely unique and something you just have to hear for yourself. Both tracks were released on an EP that aired in December, which also contained poppy, potential-song-of-the-summer “Mad at Me” featuring papa mbye.

In track 6, she strays from the angst heard in tracks before, replacing it with her classic folklore tone. “To Me It Was” is a yearning piece for fans of Samia’s twangy side, resembling a culmination of past and present. The end allows for a voicemail from her grandmother, a call back to the first track (“Pool”) of her debut album that blends into anxiety ridden “Breathing Song”. Atop of lyrics that storytell through one of her most vulnerable songs yet, Samia confirmed via social media that the use of autotune in this track represents the difficulty in recalling a traumatic event. It was released as a duo with “Honey”, which mocks its precursor by guising the same story in the middle of a naive melody, thick and hard to see through just like honey. 

“Nanana” is a fireside anthem for her friends, comparing the community found within each other to Aspen Grove in Utah: “Did you know Aspen Grove is 40 thousand trees/ With the same foundation?” At the end, she declares “Hit it boys!”, welcoming them to sing a verse together at the end in a warmhearted display of gratefulness. 

“Amelia” mimics the upbeat, summertime sound of “Mad at Me”, named after verse number two’s half-smiling and high kicking character. Samia has written the perfect closure song (“F*** your rear view/ There’s no room to shoulder hindsight where we’re going”) that simultaneously gets you on your feet, dancing to her celebration of life and love. It mends the weariness of the final track, “Dream Song”, which battles with the careful concept of mortality. Within it, she navigates the price of every one of life’s precious moments, but not without mentioning the inevitable: “There are six minutes of brain activity/ After the body’s dead/ ‘Cause you get your dreams for free”. This song was acclaimed by online music magazine The Line of Best Fit as being “the most lyrically ambitious song that Samia has penned to date”.

“Honey” is perhaps Samia’s most emotionally driven piece so far. Hyper-personal lyrics and unique production are a tradition within each of her projects, this being no exception. The album is a wholly anecdotal extension of herself, drunk on the soft melodies and courage gifted to her by friends.

-Jaymee Gallagher, Co-Music Director

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