Arlo Parks’ debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams is both a universal and self-specific sign of the times, sung with grace and vulnerability.
At the age of twenty, Arlo Parks has already captured the often cold heart of the music industry. From a nomination for BBC’s Sound Of 2020, to Billie Eilish naming Arlo her favourite artist, Collapsed In Sunbeams sees Arlo build on the beautiful fragility of her EPs.
The album’s 12 songs pay tribute to Arlo’s experiences with loss, identity, and self-discovery. The wisdom behind the lyrics and its confessionals cause doubts over the South Londoner’s true age. “I feel like I’m 10 and 100 at once”, stated Parks in a conversation with NME. Take ‘Eugene’ for example — “Hey I know I’ve been a little bit off and that’s my mistake. I kind of fell half in love and you’re to blame”– universal thoughts and feelings that for many of us would remain unuttered, but for Arlo, it is her admirable truth.
Albeit, ‘Just Go’ is a funky, head-bopping tune, Arlo’s words speak of a disappointment and betrayal endured from a past relationship. And yet, you can’t help but dance. Perhaps it is her ethereal tones, teamed with an optimistic tempo that shifts sadness into empowerment? One minute in and you can catch yourself telling whoever needs to hear it, that it is time go.
Parks, deliberately or not, has written songs of the times. ‘Hope’ is a reminder for many of us that ‘you are not alone like you think you are’. Piloted by its words, the track sends the listener on a psychedelic journey of discovery, empathy and hope. Another track, ‘For Violet’, also gives relevance to the present situation: “It feels like nothing’s changing and I can’t do this”.
Arlo’s debut single, ‘Cola’ stamped her place within the music industry, followed by ‘Black Dog’ amid the first lockdown in 2020, winning her BBC Radio 1’s Tune of the Week. Now, we are moments away from her latest and dare I say, greatest, work yet.
Collapsed In Sunbeams by Arlo Parks is out Friday 29th January, you can listen to it here