by Aidan McGinty / Staff Reporter
Up and coming indie-pop artist Claud recently put out their debut album, “Super Monster.” Fitting for a release so close to Valentine’s Day, “Super Monster” takes an honest and raw look at queer love through the lens of a non-binary artist from New York City.
This album is not only a big debut for Claud, but also for Grammy nominated emo-folk artist Phoebe Bridgers, as “Super Monster” is the first album published under Bridgers’ new record label, Saddest Factory. Unlike Bridgers, however, Claud’s music veers more into upbeat indie pop, and over a 13-song tracklist, cautiously explores the genre.
While sonically lacking any experimentation, lyrically, Claud takes their listeners through heart-wrenching and all too familiar experiences with love. The album opener “Overnight” serves as a proper mission statement, a breezy and sanguine song about falling in love “like a fool overnight.”
I’m not trying to imply that the album doesn’t measure up sonically: it is full of subdued electric guitars, and bedroom-pop drums, reminiscent of some of the slower songs from Courtney Barnett’s 2015 album, “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit.” Claud’s strengths lie in their musical composition, which connect all 13 tracks together perfectly, each melody different, but all similarly satisfying and easy to sway to.
It’s not all happy and rose-colored, however. Many of the tracks revel in the uncertainty of love and relationships, like the moody “In Or In-Between” that ends with a beat switch-up evocative of a track from Lorde’s 2017 album, “Melodrama.” Or the heart-breaking “Jordan,” named after a toxic ex, in which they sing, “I’ll keep saying sorry, for mistakes I’ve never made. I’ll keep saying sorry, just to make it go your way,” apathetically over a soft 90’s-rock instrumental.
Hearing songs about love from the perspective of a non-binary person adds a new level of accessibility to the way-too-gendered genre. The universality of the situations Claud describes creates an album that is beyond easy for listeners to project onto.
The album is relatable to all audiences, of course, but luckily, it’s still unabashedly gay. In an interview with MTV, Claud said, “whether I was out or not, I’d still be writing about gay shit because I am gay.” This isn’t just an interview statement — Claud’s sexuality is paraded loud and proud throughout the entirety of the album, especially on the pop-punk inspired “Mr. Bitch To You,” where they boldly promise that “I’m stronger than you thought… I won’t let a straight man throw me off.” Not to mention the song entitled: “Cuff Your Jeans,” whose very title alludes to a popular fashion trend with an lgbtq+ connotation.
Overall, this was an extremely strong debut for both Claud and the Saddest Factory label. “Super Monster” looks at love through the eyes of a young LGBTQ+ artist, and is a welcome and perky change to the onslaught of bad news facing the world today. While sometimes a bit too subdued and mellow, Claud’s “Super Monster” is a promising and groovy album, perfect to narrate the winter’s slow melt into a lovesick spring.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Torches
Categories: Arts & Entertainment