Updated: Feb 21, 2021
Collapsed In Sunbeams has to be one of the greatest album titles of all time. Stopping to appreciate those words, the images and positivity captured within this album title will make you fall in love with this exceptional debut album from Arlo Parks before you have even pressed play. When you do press play the opening title song is poetry set to a relaxing tune that will instantly make you feel happier and focus your attention on the sounds you are about to hear.
Arlo Parks released her debut single ‘Cola’ in 2018, followed by two EP’s and a handful of singles which meant this debut album has been eagerly awaited by everyone. When lockdown happened Arlo focused her attention on the album, making sure it was ready to release on the world in early 2021 and ensuring that we end this gloomy month of January with what will be sure to be one of the greatest albums of the year.
Collapsed In Sunbeams is an album that fully captures who the songwriter is during the time spent writing the album. Everything about the album comes at us in such a natural, open and honest way allowing us to gain a real insight and understanding of life from the songwriters perspective. Black Dog in particular is one of the many standout moments on the album that manages to capture those feelings of living with mental health, or being close to someone who experiences periods of low mental health. “Let’s go to the corner store and buy some fruit / I would do anything to get you out your room / Just take your medicine and eat some food / I would do anything to get you out your room”.
The album has such a sense of togetherness running through it, every song flows in such a graceful way. Collapsed in Sunbeams gives us hope even in the darkest of time Hurt tells us “I know you can’t let go / Of anything at the moment / Just know it won’t hurt so / Won’t hurt so much forever”. ‘Hope’ is the sound of the most relaxing summers day you can think of. This song takes me away to a happy place, a quiet beach watching the sunset with those who mean the most to me. As with ‘Hurt’ the lyrics in ‘Hope’ gives us a sense of comfort that we are not on our own. We are all humans sharing this planet and all experiencing similar emotions “You’re not alone / Like you think you are / We all have Scars / I know its hard”.
Reading interviews with Arlo she always references her love of literature, words, poetry, music and how she has been influenced by all of these areas within her own life. Collapsed In Sunbeams shows how Arlo has used her influences and created her own art, her own stories, her own narratives that are going to go on and influence a new generation. A perfect example of this is ‘Green Eyes’ a song that tells the story of a relationship that fell apart due to pressures of society, how these pressures can stop people from being who they are and who they want to be “Of course I know why we lasted two months / Could not hold my hand in public / Felt their eyes judgin’ our love and beggin’ for blood”.
There is so much soul and pop captured within these twelve songs ‘Too Good’ and ‘Just Good’ contain some infectious melodies and laid back grooves. The influence of Radiohead can clearly be heard throughout the album especially on ‘Caroline’, Thom Yorke is even referenced in the lyrics to ‘Too Good’.
Collapsed In Sunbeams will make the world stop and take notice of Arlo Parks, if it hasn’t done so already (Michelle Obama added her to a spotify playlist). This is a voice that needs to be heard above many other voices that dominate the world. I will leave you with a lyric from closing track ‘Porta 400’ that resonates so much during these times and continues to give us hope of a better future “Making Rainbows out of something painful”, if that is not a perfect image, a perfect sentiment to hold onto then I don’t know what is.
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