When I’m Alone by girlpuppy | Album Review
Reviewing the debut album from the Atlanta singer
Becca Harvey — stage name, girlpuppy — follows up her debut EP, Swan, with her debut album, When I’m Alone, a project filled with the melancholic musings of an almost obsessive love, among other topics, highlighted by an indie/indie-pop approach. With the help of Alex G and Henry Stoehr of Slow Pulp in production, Harvey captures a sound similar to the swoons of Phoebe Bridgers and Lana Del Rey in a soothing debut.
Oddly enough, the influences of this album come from modern media, a growing theme we’ll see more often with the next generations of artist. girlpuppy heralds The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack as a primary influence, because “in this movie she [Bella Swan] struggles with the fear of being alone,” (BrooklynVegan). Additionally, family plays a large part in the artist creation of the album with songs about her best friend in “Emma Marie” and her brother in “Denver” and “I Want to Be There”.
When I’m Alone is a relatively simple confessional that captures the worries of a person squashed between two generations fighting for relevance. This album is a brief step away from the external world to examine love, loneliness, and adulthood in a dreamy landscape absent of regret from things left unsaid. The journey girlpuppy takes the listener on is wandering and ultimately arrives at the conclusion that life is moving faster than they can, or want to, process appropriately. The floating instrumental of the opener, “Final Girl”, is a beautiful microcosm of this journey and encapsulates the familiar sound that is girlpuppy.
The strengths of this album lie in the soothing guitar via Alex G, the production, and a simple delivery. Secondly, when the artist strays away from the comfortable and into the realm of exploration, they flourish. The indie rock insert of “Denver” is easily my favorite track because it stands out amongst the crowd. The narrative form of this song of her brother moving away from their hometown is deeply personal and backed by the most enticing guitar selection from Alex G that borders rock music.
While the album is consistent and is absent of vocal lapses, with that comes a bit of homogeny that is interrupted by the aforementioned track. It lacks the range of a wholly developed artist, quite simply because Harvey is not a wholly developed artist just yet. Stylistically, girlpuppy could benefit from experimenting further away from the indie genre. It’s obvious the vocals are there — showcasing those range extremities is the next stage of development. Harvey only lightly touches into that lower register, and remains a bit too comfortable in the middle register that most of the album is delivered.
When I’m Alone is an album I probably wouldn’t have listened to when I was younger. But with age comes literal and musical maturation (most of the time), and this is a solid album that beautifully, and simply, captures the struggles that are ever so common in our generation. As the artist grows and develops their own sound, they will begin to stray away from the obvious influences of indie and grunge, and develop their own unique sound — one that I don’t quite hear yet.
Favorite Tracks: Denver, Revenant
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