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August 21, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Soccer Mommy’s debut is angst-ridden and repetitive

Clean

Soccer Mommy

Sophie Allison, the 20-year-old known as Soccer Mommy, has made her entrance into the music world with her debut album, “Clean.” Her music is not the usual flashy pop that dominates today; instead, it exhibits an intermixing of indie-influenced rock and alternative. Most of the tracks consist of just an electric guitar and Soccer Mommy’s somber vocals. While the album contains some ear-catching tracks, it quickly ends up tripping itself on its own feet.

The album’s overall use of guitar and mournful singing is apparent in the opening track, “Still Clean.” Both its vocals and guitar are calm and collected. It isn’t until the next song, “Cool,” that the album picks up the pace the song has a peppy dance sensation to it, thanks to its eccentric beat.

In “Cool,” Soccer Mommy brilliantly contrasts fast and excited instrumentals with woeful lyrics. The track is about the artist’s warning to avoid a cruel girl named Mary, and she tries to convince Mary’s partner to dump her. However, a confusing problem with the lyrics is when Soccer Mommy sings, “I wanna be that cool.” Does she want to be cool like Mary or like Mary’s partner? Since the lyric is frequently used with no clarification, the song leads to a lack of meaning.

Despite starting with two strong tracks, “Still Clean” and “Cool,” the album falls into stale repetition. The songs “Your Dog,” “Flaw” and “Skin” are about the same topic: failed love. Soccer Mommy laments her doomed relationships over and over again to the point where it becomes annoying. This “theme” quickly becomes obvious. It is easy to guess what the next song’s subject is going to be, which leads to little to no surprise on the rest of the album. It also doesn’t help that the instrumentals follow this trend of repetition. The same guitar riffs come into play again and again, and the other instrumentals are lost in the background.

Fortunately, there are two songs that break the banal pattern of short-lived love. In “Last Girl”, the artist is both jealous of and impressed by her crush’s girlfriend. The instrumentals and lyrics break from the bleak tone and instantly sound like a entertaining jam session. “Scorpio Rising” also breaks away from the usual instrumentals. The song starts off quietly, then surprises with a pleasant rush of energy from exciting instrumentals. Soccer Mommy’s vocals become emotional and reveal a vulnerable side. The track retreats back to quiet but is not afraid to return to that impressive energy.

The album winds down with the secondtolast song, “Interlude.” It is a peaceful guitar solo, but it feels like it was crammed onto the album at the last minute to increase the runtime. “Interlude” plays right after the dynamic “Scorpio Rising” this makes the tracks clash with each other awkwardly instead of flowing.

The album is a repetitive bore, but at least there are some tracks, like “Scorpio Rising” and “Last Girl,” that are an enjoyable listen. If “Clean” could nix its constant whining about heartbreak, then its quality would increase. Alas, it is undistinguished with its overuse of simple, repetitive guitar chords and “hurt-by-love” theme.

Soccer Mommy may not enter the mainstream because of her simple approach to music and unwillingness to expand on different topics. However, she will attract an angsty, indie-loving crowd nonetheless.