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Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

Musical Blooms: New Spring Album Reviews to Refresh Your Playlist

The new year has started with a bang, with great new music from Faye Webster, Bleachers and SZA
Lucy Liu
The latest spring albums are featured on Spotify’s music playlist.

2024 is shaping up to be a stellar year for the music world, and we’re only three months in. The biggest names in the industry (Kanye West, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift) have been dropping new music left and right. Aside from the obvious TikTok hits that are “yes, and?” and “CARNIVAL,” less popular indie artists have been taking the new year by storm. We will be covering a good mix of the mainstream and the underground in this installation of everyone’s favorite album review column.


Underdressed At The Symphony – Faye Webster

Released Friday, March 1, 2024

Atlanta singer-songwriter Faye Webster has become quite a name in the “sad-girl” genre with her country-tinged indie rock hits such as “Kingston.” Expectations were high for her fifth studio album, Underdressed At The Symphony, and Webster did not disappoint. 

Underdressed immediately sets the tone with its first track, “Thinking About You.” Webster’s silky smooth voice draws listeners into a world of introspection and longing. Although this is the longest song on the album (a whopping six and a half minutes), the lyrics are simple against a twangy dream-pop background, mostly consisting of the repetition of the lines “I’m thinking about you.” Webster is comfortable in her mundanity as she becomes lost in a sonic daydream about the one she loves. 

Webster’s discography is an ideal background for a morning spent doing nothing, quietly being consumed by your thoughts. This is especially evident in “But Not Kiss,” the lead single from Underdressed and one of my personal favorites. The back-and-forth lyrics discuss the conflicting feelings that come with the fallout of a relationship: “I want to sleep in your arms/But not kiss/I want to see you in my dreams/But then forget.” While the lyrics shine in their simplicity, the unpredictable piano takes center stage.

Exploring the nuances of relationships, Webster jumps from the bittersweet aftermath of a breakup to the introspection of personal growth in “Feeling Good Today.” She attempts to hide her honest feelings behind layers of autotune and vocal manipulation, juxtaposed by a soft acoustic guitar speaking in her stead. Further delving into themes of transformation, “Wanna Quit All The Time” has Webster candidly acknowledging her flaws with lyrics like, “I used to be self-conscious/Well, really I still am/I’m just better at figuring out why.” In the lengthy, pedal-steel outro, when faced with all of her problems, she repeatedly rebuts with inevitable nonchalance: “I think I’ll figure it out.”

Next up on Underdressed is the intriguingly titled “eBay Purchase History.” The lyricism is very conversational, a refreshing change of pace. For instance, Webster lazily sings, “I’ll keep my anonymity hid/I just learned that word/I thought that I’d use it.” This is a simple, sweet interlude before the action-packed closing track, “Tttttime.” That’s not a typo, there are really five T’s in the title! In this song, Webster finally realizes that despite having lost love, she has “t-t-t-t-time.” With her staccato vocals repeating this sentiment, Webster is showing that she is waiting around for something new to happen, a very relatable experience.

Overall, Underdressed At The Symphony is a mesmerizing exploration of love and self-reflection, underscored by Webster’s supple vocals and casual songwriting. With its blend of dream-pop, indie rock and subtle hints of electronica, this album solidifies Faye Webster’s place as one of indie music’s most compelling voices.


Highlighted Tracks:

“Lego Ring”

Featuring Lil Yachty, who happens to be Webster’s childhood friend, “Lego Ring” is undoubtedly something new and different. Filled with unique autotune and vocal manipulation, Webster’s voice is almost unrecognizable as she sings about knowing what she wants. This track is a particular standout due to its playful nature, contrasting the melancholy that runs throughout the rest of Underdressed. However, underneath its casual exterior, “Lego Ring” is about Webster’s profound longing for a love that is truly permanent, like “a Lego ring that will hurt her finger.”



“Lifetime” is unarguably the saddest track on the album, fitting right in with Webster’s best hits. The lyrics consist of the repetition of the phrase “In a lifetime,” drawn out beautifully against a background of twinkling piano. Its jazzy sound is emphasized with echoing rim clicks and Webster’s devastating yet warm voice reminiscent of Mitski’s in the popular “My Love Mine All Mine.” Webster immaculately captures the ache of lonely love with the atmospheric sound of “Lifetime.”


Bleachers – Bleachers

Released Friday, March 8, 2024

Led by Jack Antonoff, everyone’s favorite modern pop producer, Bleachers’ self-titled album Bleachers delivers a nostalgic journey through love and longing. Best known for his work behind the scenes with Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and The 1975, Antonoff’s own music often goes unrecognized. Whether this album will surpass these low expectations is to be determined.

Bleachers begins with “I Am Right On Time,” a track reminiscent of something by The National, yet infused with Antonoff’s quirky flair, demonstrated by random synth solos and a shouted out “Whoo!” in the distant background. With witty wordplay typical of Antonoff’s writing, the chorus sings, “The future’s past/I’m right on time.” Themes of the blissful disillusion that comes with love run throughout Bleachers. “Me Before You” continues this, evoking imagery of hazy late-night drives and the comfort found with a loved one. Despite a few too many sports references, the song exudes drowsy, intoxicating romance, making it a definite standout. 

It wouldn’t be a true Bleachers record without a couple of insane collaborations. Staying true to this, “Alma Mater” features the lovely Lana Del Rey, who Antonoff has worked with numerous times. This synthpop track sounds like something from The 1975’s latest album, produced by Antonoff himself. Regardless of its imitative nature, “Alma Mater” has its own draw. Antonoff goofily whispers “Psst Lana,” right before Del Rey’s verse begins. Bleachers as a whole fully leans into Antonoff’s 2013 Tumblr aesthetic: expertly ironic with outdated Balenciaga jokes.

“Alma Mater” is followed by “Tiny Moves,” a lovestruck anthem inspired by Antonoff’s wife Margaret Qualley, like much of the album is. He romantically sings, “The tiniest moves you make/Watching my whole world shake,” filled with the joy of finally finding true love. “Woke Up Today” takes this romance to “Wonderwall” levels of cheesiness with lyrics like, “I see the whole world in you, babe.” However, these tacky lyrics are combated by the beautiful, lush acoustics in the background, similar to Joni Mitchell in the 60s.

Tracks like “Hey Joe” and “We’re Gonna Know Each Other Forever” are unmemorable, akin to filler tracks without any true substance. As Bleachers begins coming to a close, the final few tracks ensure a strong ending. “Call Me After Midnight” blends pop, rock and even some R&B, coming together to create an immensely tender atmosphere. The song builds and builds until reaching a crescendo with Antonoff belting, “They don’t want you/They want your faith.”

Bleachers ends with “Ordinary Heaven.” Antonoff channels Bon Iver with the twinkling gossamer sound and experimental nature of this track. In this unfailingly romantic ballad, he sings, “You dance around the apartment/and I just get to be there.” 

Although Antonoff always knocks it out of the park with his production for Swift, Del Rey, The 1975 and several other greats, he can’t quite reach the same level with his own band. Bleachers offers a mix of highs and lows, capturing moments of raw emotion and musical experimentation, making it a solid addition to Bleachers’ discography.  


Highlighted Tracks:

“Modern Girl”

“Modern Girl” stands out as a definite highlight of Bleachers with its infectious 80s energy and killer saxophone solo. Bruce Springsteen’s influence is palpable as his “Dancing In The Dark” meets Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls.” The line, “We play it like a heart attack for you,” adds a layer of intensity to the track, emphasizing the passion and energy poured into the music. The raw, live feel of the song enhances its authenticity, capturing the essence of a band truly enjoying themselves on stage.


Saturn – SZA

Released Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

Genre-bending musician SZA has taken the world by storm over the past year. Her sophomore album SOS (which is still topping charts over a year after its release) has given her cult classic status as she received the most Grammy nominations this year. 

Her latest single, “Saturn,” marks the beginning of the rollout of her next album titled Lana. In classic SZA manner, she takes her listeners on a dreamy R&B experience. Her beautifully sweet vocals give the song a light air even amongst darker lyricism. Devastatingly existential, SZA sings of being dissatisfied with her life, claiming that she’d be better off on Saturn. She sings, “Life’s better on Saturn/None of this matters,” painting a vivid picture of life on the distant planet. Despite its heavy undertones, the track exudes a lightness that transports listeners into space, making them feel like they’re floating among the stars.

As spring is blooming, musicians are finally coming out of hibernation, making the next couple of months important for the music world. Taylor Swift is dropping her highly anticipated new album “The Tortured Poets Department” in only a few short weeks. Other upcoming releases include Dua Lipa, Vampire Weekend and my personal favorite, Adrienne Lenker. See you on the next one music lovers!

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About the Contributors
Arna Churiwala
Arna Churiwala, A+E Editor
Hey Warriors! I’m so beyond psyched to be your Arts & Entertainment editor this year. My passions include music, film, and all things A&E. During my third and final year in the Golden Arrow, I hope to cover lots of diverse stories that represent all of the different arts throughout campus. It’s going to be a great year!
Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu, Features B Editor
Hey Warriors! My name is Lucy Liu and I'm really excited to serve as the Features B editor and staff illustrator. This is my third and last year in Golden Arrow, and I hope to wrap it up with more professional stories and creative illustrations. In my free time, I also love painting, video production, running, and competing in MUN. I hope you can enjoy our stories and find your voices represented in our issues.