Irish singer-songwriter SOAK‘s new album “Grim Town” takes us on a voyage to the highs and lows of growing up -musically and lyrically- and guides us towards finding one self. As the opener “all aboard” explains, it’s an album for “recipients of universal credit or minimum wage, the lonely, the disenfranchised, the disillusioned, the lost, the grieving”.
Once we’re all aboard and all instructions are being read out -by her grandfather- the journey begins in a lonely “middle city apartment” in a small, poor town. While the album starts off pesimistic, gray and sad, it eventually finds its inner peace through SOAK’s calm, warm voice and its dreamy, peaceful sound.
“Grim Town” is a constant struggle of coming of age and the search for the light at the end of the tunnel. One of its climax songs, “Everybody Loves You”, offers stark contrasts in its lyrics. While her chorus includes the lines Everybody wants you / Not me today, ’cause I’m done / Everybody loves you / Not me, no way / I don’t work that way, later in the song she admitts that Everybody loves you / And I do too.
Commenting on that line, the 22-year old Irish singer-songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson, who is one of the Mercury Prize’s youngest nominees ever, says that “the lift at the end of the song (“Everybody wants you, And I do too”) represents the almost comedic/foolish acceptance of my own feelings. A 360 turn of events in which I then so desperately want all that I had rejected and pushed away. A consistent theme of my younger self”
SOAK’s album is honest, humble, and powerful in its message: be honest about your feelings and mental health. At times nostalgic, her bright personality and strength shines bright through her music and guides her out, back to her self.