‘color theory’ by Soccer Mommy: Sadness in Different Colors

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The earnest reverie displayed by Sophie Allison in her music under the veneer of Soccer Mommy is one of the characteristics that made her click with the emotionally distraught teenage demographic she is particularly known for on her past projects.

It is always a pleasant treat hearing new material from the young Nashville-based bedroom pop artist, but diving deep into her psyche is an entirely different story and one that I wouldn’t describe as an experience one would voluntarily seek out by looking at a record — or any piece of art in general — from the outside in through a vague précis or a synopsis for the film enthusiasts out there.

color theory is another bright entry to Soccer Mommy’s catalog, following the critically-acclaimed Clean from 2018. Cheerful as it may seem on the surface, ‘colorful’ as the title may suggest, the album is brooding, lovelorn, and full of despondency.

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PHOTO: Brian Ziff

Juxtaposing the elements within the concept from which the title takes inspiration, color theory capitalizes on the complementarity of the three primary sensibilities displayed across the album’s tracklisting: pain, sadness, and disease— with each being assigned individually to a color from the primary colors in the color wheel (red, blue, and yellow) and are fused together in to create something entirely new, something that makes the listener feel separate emotions at the same time.

bloodstream, which kicks the album off, represents the color red in the album’s conceptual framework and reveals what seems to be tendencies or fleeting thoughts of the young artist to commit acts of self-harm. In the song, Soccer Mommy goes into excruciating details explaining how she would end up “swimming through her bloodstream”, envying other people who are living happier lives than her, thereby leading her into believing that happiness is a short-lived emotion.

We are just at the first track, barely scratching the surface, but the subject matter the album brings forth already raises a lot of trigger warnings.

circle the drain, albeit having a more uplifting beat and a general sound palette, giving off a soft vibe of Britpop with a tinge of pop ala Tori Amos, is melancholic in its theme, with Soccer Mommy mentioning hints of depression in the lyrics, emphasizing instances of suddenly feeling down “even when everything is fine”.

royal screw up, on the other hand, is an unabashedly painful and vulnerable moment in the album, wherein Soccer Mommy accepts that she is a perpetual failure of a person, especially when it comes to keeping a special person close, and blames herself for the conundrum that she has put herself into. It is one of the many tracks in “color theory” that represents the color blue (sadness), which is already a given since the album is a really depressive one.

yellow is the color of her eyes is perhaps the most beautifully structured songs in color theory, with fantastic crescendos and decrescendos in the chorus, and luscious instrumentation and singing, all weaved seamlessly by gentle transitions. Even with the song blooming with joy, its gloominess is still apparent in the lyrics and is incorporated very well.

For as colorful as the album is, the resolution of the inner turmoils explored on color theory by the self-aware Soccer Mommy is a rather dilapidated one as the album never truly ends on a high note. During the final moments of the closing track, gray light, it is shown that she is finally reaching her breaking point.

The inner demons that she’s been facing are still there, struggling to win. And it seems that she is faltering.

8/10

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Music critic with a day job | For article/music review requests, send me an email: dinerosnikolai@gmail.com | I accept tips & donations: paypal.me/ndineros

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