Hopping out of her two-year hiatus, 22-year old singer-songwriter Clairo released her second studio album Sling on July 16th, 2021 on the FADER label. Since then, the album has received high praise and debuted in the top 20 on the US Billboard 200. The album includes jazz-like instrumentals accompanied by soft, soothing vocals. This contrasts the artist’s first album Immunity, as it lacks that teenage, bedroom pop feel. The candid lyrics of songs like “Blouse” and “Zinnias” explore the feeling of wanting to “get real” with someone. Although the songs may vary in their overall mood, the project remains calm, soft and relaxing.
In an interview with Apple Music, Clairo says “I do think I have grown a lot since my last record,” and it is evident. On Sling, fans can instantly realize that there has been a shift in the musical style. This album presents the growth that the artist experienced in her two years of silence, with a shift in both the music and lyrics.
On her first album, Immunity, most songs featured a synthesized beat with indistinguishable instruments, a trademark in bedroom pop music. With her second album, Clairo chose to feature very raw and natural sounds into her songs. Repeatedly, you can hear a clear trumpet and soft sax creating an airy and romantic ambience. Just prior to the release of Immunity, Clairo came out as bisexual. This was incorporated into the album as it delved into the wonders of teenage love and accepting the impossible. On Sling, the lyrics match the sound. The floating, cottage core atmosphere the album produces makes its way into the lyrics that describe a lack of connection and confusion. The first single, “Blouse”, features an infamous line, “Why do I tell you how I feel, when you’re too busy looking down my blouse?” The unadorned line explains the difficulties of expressing yourself, vulnerably, but not receiving a like response.
The jazz sounds on the album are a pleasure to listeners, but regrettably, the album does not seem to feature much variation in sound. As the indulgent vocals of Clairo guide you through the graceful album, each song merges perfectly with the next. The New York Times describes the songs of Sling to be “meandering melodies and sludgy tempos failing to distinguish themselves.” This however, seems to be intentional as the artist continuously mentions how she wanted to display her growth. The repeating sound may just be a portion of her growth that she would like to highlight.
Sling is co-produced by Jack Antonoff, an American artist who has produced numerous works for Lorde and Taylor Swift and is a Grammy Award winner. Antonoff had first reached out to Clairo with the idea of collaboration, which she declined. Eventually, whilst writing “Reaper” the artist decided to reach back out to Antonoff to gain his input. Antonoff ultimately obliged. In an interview with triple j Clairo says “So Jack texted me and said, ‘Hey, I’m with a friend, can we call you?’ And I said, ‘Yeah! …why?’ And it was Lorde and I started crying. It caught me so off guard. I was very emotional.” When Clairo received the phone call, connections were made which resulted in Lorde featuring on “Blouse” singing background vocals.
Sophomore album, Sling, is a fresh look into Clairo’s musical career. Straying away from her bedroom-pop debut album Immunity, this album is a production of growth. This all-new jazzy, folk, cottage-core sound captivates a relaxed listener. Waiting fans are excited to discover their new and improved favourite artist.