Recommended Tracks: “Misbehave”, “Good Girl”, “Sleep Talk”
Artists You May Like: Housewife, GRAE, Anna Shoemaker
It is very natural to judge who we are by how we behave around others. After an interaction with a friend or a colleague, you may wonder if your words or your actions were coherent or relevant, if there was something more or less you could have done. Judgment is just as strong when these people step out of your life. Maybe you wonder who you are by yourself, if you’re strong enough alone, if you can support yourself or love yourself on your own. The answers can vary, which we discover on YOUR ANGEL’s sophomore album, A Star in the Headlights. As she searches for more out of life, the indie pop artist also explores her self-worth, analyzing the relationships and tendencies that impact her overall identity and journey.
Evidently, YOUR ANGEL places expectations on herself and others, curious to see how those expectations are either met or rejected. She is disappointed by a partner’s lack of empathy on “You Never Say Sorry,” and addresses the hurt and disappointment she keeps to herself. Over dramatic swells of synth, she sings, “On the outside / Living by somebody else’s words / On the inside / Never want to tell him that I’m hurt,” afraid of the conflict that could ensue if she speaks up. This dual reality also occurs on “Good Girl,” where YOUR ANGEL describes the loneliness she feels when she is with her partner. Even though she enjoys when this person is with her, she can’t help but notice that this person is mentally not present. The music reflects this situation, changing from quiet and intimate to open and full, the textures and colors highlighting both the light and dark from the experience.
Even though these relationships make her feel weak at times, YOUR ANGEL also has her moments of strength. On “Tough,” she views her hard exterior as a plus. Over a production that is both cosmic and industrial, YOUR ANGEL sings, “Yeah, you always call me tough / You’re right, I am” and “Yeah, he always says she’s tough / That’s right, I am.” While it is clear that someone is trying to use her strength against her, YOUR ANGEL decides to embrace it, adding that she is “bigger” and “stronger” in the process. On the proceeding “Sleep Talk,” she enjoys the way she moves on from someone. The warm hues and dreamy patterns that float out of the track convince us that we have stepped into this alternate reality, into a sleep-induced fantasy. All the while, YOUR ANGEL sings about slipping away and “tearing down the visions” that this other person has of her. She then taunts this person by asking, “Honey, do you hear me?” and “Honey, do you miss me?” her elegant vocals making her a nightmare that is hard to resist.
Still, YOUR ANGEL wants to be supported and cared for, as we hear on tracks like “Misbehave” and “Baby.” An up-tempo track that has a 50s pop ballad groove, “Misbehave” surrounds us with affection. She sings, “It’s nice to get to know you / So won’t you stay with me tonight?” the color in her voice whisking us away to a pleasant oasis. Not only does she want someone who wants to be with her, but YOUR ANGEL wants someone who makes her feel empowered. On “Baby,” she reveals, “I just want to be yours, babe / Don’t you want to be my baby?” and adds, “So afraid of what I want / ‘Cause I don’t want to lose my power.” She implies that the right person shouldn’t take anything away, which we also hear on “Honey.” It is reflective and cinematic, making it an appropriate closing song for the album. We get this sense that YOUR ANGEL has found the “something more” she has been after for so long, lines like “I’m waiting and working to see this through / All of the hours wasted on people I never knew” and “I walk the other way, I run to you” enhancing the scene. The special element of this track is the mystery behind it – has she found someone else or is she describing herself?
Overall, A Star in the Headlights is as vulnerable and dazzling as it sounds. Lyrically, YOUR ANGEL exposes her struggles with herself and others, showing how a weakness with one affects the other. Musically, she pulls from artists that inspired her as a child, giving us shimmering effects, graceful vocals, and mechanized components that allude to Britney Spears, Dido, and Timbaland. Altogether, the album is an exploration of self and sound, taking us on one fascinating expedition while continuing to tell the unique story of YOUR ANGEL.
You can listen to A Star in the Headlights on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.