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Clairo - Sling (Album Review)

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 Written by Matty Pywell

Your early 20s are not always seen as a time geared towards domesticity, but it’s a dynamic that Clairo realised was much needed within her life following the breakout success of her debut LP.

After spending her late teens relentlessly on tour, lockdown happened, and she took on the responsibility of looking after a dog. These changes, time spent at home, and the process of caring for a living creature posed a whole load of new questions. Clairo began to tussle with thoughts of motherhood and the family that she may have in the future, and how that may affect her sense of identity. 

On ‘Immunity’ she captured Gen Z narratives of growing up and exploring sexuality, drawing praise for her nuanced portrayal of mental health issues. Now, with its superb follow up ‘Sling’, she documents a generation's unique sense of liminal insecurity.

There’s no doubt that enforced isolation has cultivated a deeper well of self-reckoning, with many young people unexpectedly finding themselves at home for months at a time.

Here Clairo illustrates a number of nagging questions: who are we going to be? How do we feel better about ourselves? Its scope is as wide as the next day and the distant future. The album was co-produced by Jack Antonoff, who has made a habit of helping artists to open up and deliver authentic displays of vulnerability, and it’s little wonder that his recording sessions have been likened to therapy. 

The production and writing—leaning towards the lilting pop-rock of ‘70s singer-songwriters, squaring Karen Carpenter with Weyes Blood’s retro-futurist take on the idea—is so rich in texture, timing and reflective passages that it is the perfect companion for Clairo’s excavations of emotional depth.

Her vocals are often pitched so quietly that you feel like an intruder, encroaching upon the mechanisms of somebody's private thought process. Clairo is determined to make it through the lows, one little change at a time, and we are with her every step of the way. ‘Sling’ is a healing record from a poetic mind.

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