Sometimes, Forever, the immersive and compulsively replayable new Soccer Mommy full-length, cements Sophie Allison’s status as one of the most gifted songwriters making rock music right now. Packed with clever nods to synth-filled subgenres like new wave and goth, the album finds Sophie broadening the borders of her aesthetic without abandoning the unsparing lyricism and addictive melodies that make Soccer Mommy songs so easy to obsess over. Sometimes, Forever is the artist’s boldest and most aesthetically-adventurous work, a mesmerising collection that feels both informed by the past and explicitly of the moment. It’s a fresh peek into the mind of an artist who synthesises everything — retro sounds, personal tumult, the relatable disorder of modern life — into original music that feels built to last a long time. Maybe even forever.
Soccer Mommy was only 20 when she put out Clean, her arresting studio debut, which became one of the most beloved coming-of-age albums of the 2010s. Its bigger-sounding followup, color theory, brought more acclaim and continued to win her fans far outside of the lo-fi bedroom pop scene she cut her teeth in. But with all the highs came inevitable lows. Navigating young adulthood is often spiritually draining, to say nothing of the artless administrative chaos associated with being a full-time musician. And yet she never stops writing, consistently transforming bouts of instability into emotionally generous music. The latest culmination of that process is Sometimes, Forever, which sees Allison once again tapping into the turn-of-the-millenium sensibilities she’s known for. This time, though, she advances her self-made sonic world beyond the present and into the future with experimental-minded production, an expanded moodboard of vintage touchstones, and some of her most sophisticated songwriting to date.
To support her vision, Allison enlisted producer Daniel Lopatin, a.k.a Oneohtrix Point Never, whose recent behind-the-boards credits include the Uncut Gems movie score and The Weeknd’s chart-topping Dawn FM. While the pairing might seem unexpected, active listening reveals a kindred creativity; both artists are interested in utilizing memory-triggering sounds and melodies to make invigorating music that transcends its influences. On Sometimes, Forever, Lopatin employs his boundless synth vocabulary and knack for meticulous arrangements to complement Allison’s well-crafted compositions. The result is an epic-feeling mix of raw-edged live takes and studio wizardry.
Sometimes, Forever fixates on contradictory forces: desire and apathy, ecstasy and misery, good and evil, self-control and wildness, and the push and pull between Allison’s desire to make meaningful art and her skepticism about the mechanics of careerism. “I hate so many parts of the music industry, but I also want success,” she says. “And not just success — perfection. I want to make things that are flawless, that perfectly encapsulate what I’m thinking and feeling. It’s an unachievable goal that keeps you constantly chasing it.”
The title Sometimes, Forever refers to the idea that both good and bad feelings are cyclical. “Sorrow and emptiness will pass, but they will always come back around — as will joy,” Allison says. “At some point you’re forced to say, I’ll just have to take both.” Sometimes, Forever is lyrically dark, with macabre imagery haunting even its most upbeat passages. But because Allison is in a better place than when she wrote the songs, she has no trouble luxuriating in the moments of uncomplicated bliss that coexist alongside the bleakness. The impending apocalypse has never sounded so jaw-droppingly beautiful. “I didn’t want to make something super depressing without any sense of magic,” she explains.
Release: June 24th, 2022, Loma Vista Recordins/Virgin Music Australia