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New Music: Adrianne Lenker - Bright Future

Adrianne Lenker Bright Future album cover, featuring Adrianne Lenker in a white cowboy hat

As far as songwriters go they don't get much better than Adrianne Lenker. Through Big Thief and her solo albums Adrianne has for a number of years given us songs to fall in love to, songs to break our hearts, songs to make us appreciate life, reflect on how fragile the world is and how important it is to love and appreciate the world we live in. That said it should come as no surprise to anyone how Adrianne's latest offering Bright Future is quite simply one of the greatest albums ever recorded. The album is a collection of songs that are full of emotion, honesty, beauty and has this rawness to it that will ensure your attention does not waver for even a second whenever you are in the company of this album. 

The album opens with Real House, a piano led ballad that further supports the argument that Adrianne is one of the world's greatest storytellers when it comes to songwriting. This is a reflection on childhood, the first time a child cries, the first time a child realises that time is not infinite. Remembering those dreams we have as children "I wanted so much for magic to be real / So many dreams of flying" . Reflections on the love we need from our parents, the subject of the song reveals itself to be Adrianne's mother "And your love is all I want".  If you are not already crying by the time you reach the final part of the song, be prepared to have your heart broken when the ending recounts a devastating memory of the family coming together when a family pet is put to sleep. The final thing to say about Real House is how Adrianne goes from close to far away from the microphone when singing and the effect this has on the song is incredible.

Sadness As A Gift opens with strings and gentle percussion that will be sure to provide you with comfort and when the vocals enter you will feel very privileged to be able to listen to this song. This song is a reflection on time passing "The seasons go so fast / Thinking this one was going to last". The piano and violin combination throughout the song is beyond words, honestly the sound these instruments make throughout this song will bring so much pleasure and joy to everyone who lets this song into their lives. Fool is a spellbinding song which will hypnotise you with the finger picking and atmospheric harmonies which enables the listener to get fully lost within the rawness and emotions of the song.  

Bright Future was recorded in a house in the countryside, away from technology. It captures the simple things in life, appreciating the friendships we have, and the everyday beauty in the natural world, the moon, the stars, the flowers, the birds singing. Those feelings are perfectly captured in No Machine, "Let no machine eat away our dream / Baby take my hand lets go together"  The melodies throughout this song will be sure to lift your mood and it will remind you to look up and take a moment each day to be in awe at how much love and hope can be found in the world "And everyday the moon just sails away / The moon and sun are the keepers of the weather / Don't know what I'd do without you."

The theme of the natural world continues in Free Treasure as Adrianne asks us "Do you wanna go to the river / I know this spot so deep and green / With wild raspberries and apple trees and rocks to climb between.". Vampire Empire is a passionate, infectious song that will stay with you for a long time to come. Evol follows and I wanted to say this is another stand out moment in the album, but that comment could be applied to every song on Bright Future.  That said there is something truly inspiring about Evol which shows the power of language "Words backwards are lethal" how love backwards looks like Evil "Love spells Evol backwards".  Whilst your mind is being blown by the lyrical concept of this song and the power of wordplay you are then reminded of the underpinning theme of the song that is once again about heartbreak "You have my heart / I want it back".

Love and heartbreak are also immortalised in Candleflame "You know I love you I can't explain / Crying over the candleflame". Already Lost gives us some gentle timeless melodies and vocals that will make you happy. The guitar playing at the start of Cell Phone sets the mood for another song that is going to sweep you off your feet. When the vocals enter you realise that sometimes all you need is a guitar, vocals and lyrics that are written from the heart to make the world a better place. Donut Seam takes on the subject of climate change "This old world is dying / Don't it seem like a good time for swimming / Before all the water disappears." Adrianne reminds us that if the world is dying make sure you allow yourself to love and have "One more kiss to last the years".

The album ends with Ruined which was the first song I heard on the radio from the album and I am not lying when I say I stopped dead in my tracks. I was preparing tea (yes not very rock n roll) and these melodies, and vocals that were full of heartbreak filled the kitchen and I was fully captivated by what I was hearing  "Can't get enough of you / You come around I'm ruined".  The sounds were swirling around my head, I had that instant connection to the song, and from that moment on started the countdown to the album, which is now here. Bright Future is an album that no human being can live without.  There have been so many albums that I have loved this year but this is one that will remain high on the list of favourite albums for eternity. 

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