Samia – ‘The Baby’ review: an exhilarating soundtrack to young adulthood’s existential angst

The New York-based musician's emotion-trotting debut paints an accurate portrait of mid-twenties uncertainty

Navigating your twenties can be a bit of a delightfully-tricky minefield. Against a changing backdrop of friends, lovers and places, working out who you are and who you can rely on makes for one tumultuous journey.

Samia’s debut album ‘The Baby’ tries to make sense, or at least accept the chaos of growing pains. Covering country, alt-pop and rock n’roll, the New Yorker’s varied style encapsulates multiple moods – a welcome soundtrack to the existential angst of young adulthood.

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Written over two years of touring with Grand Jury label mates Hippo Campus, the 23 year-old used the album as a way to figure out her identity in relation to others. ‘The Babys eleven tracks acting as geographical pinpoints on Samia’s process of self-discovery around America: opening with a homely voice-note from her grandmother, then hopping on-board a ‘Winnebago’ to ‘Minnesota’ and regaling us with tales of New York’s East Village on ‘Waverly’.

It’s an exhilarating musical ride. The soaring full-frontal riffs of ‘Fit N Full’ sees Samia build on the success of her empowering anthem ‘Someone Tell The Boys’, owning her womanhood as she ponders “getting fully naked” in a restaurant. Elsewhere, the ethereal harmonies of ‘Triptych’ and slinky rhythm of ‘Limbo Bitch’ provide a catchy dose of indie-pop, interspersed with hypnotic electro-builder ‘The Pool’.

Samia finds her way on The Baby through sardonic, emotionally intense takes on the imperfect everyday. ‘Big Wheel’ is a reflection on friendships that have out-stayed their course: “I’ve got an old friend in Japan / she’s been mad at me before / it’s just that she and I have got / nothing in common anymore”, she sings with breezy rationale over shuffling drums. The sombre ‘Stellate’ and ‘Does Not Heal’ take romantic cliché and turn it on its head, documenting relationships that don’t go to plan. On closing track, ‘Is There Something In The Movies?’, Samia tackles the shallowness of show-business, her tender vocals turning to anguish as she references the premature death of family friend and Clueless actress, Brittany Murphy.

Are my legs going to last / is it too much to ask?”, Samia yells into the ambient void on ‘The Pool’. Part Brooklyn-punk, part folk-troubadour, ‘The Baby’ marks the coming-of-age of an intriguing songwriter, who isn’t afraid to take on the anxieties and uncertainties that keep you awake in the small hours.

Details

  • Release date: August 28
  • Record label: Grand Jury
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