Sloan is Not “Someone You Hate”

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Sacha Feldberg, Contributing Writer

On Oct. 16, a cold and rainy day in Lewiston, American singer-songwriter Sasha Sloan released her ten-song debut album, “Only Child.” The 40-degrees Fahrenheit weather and heavy rain had me feeling some kind of way as I trudged across the wet campus grounds, making my way back to my house, replaying this album over and over again, thinking about which songs I would write about in my review, how this album differs from her others, and wondering how many other artists have been creating new music while in quarantine. 

From her 2019 EP, “Self Portrait” to her current album, Sloan has developed her musical style and her artistic view. This is her fourth project. “Self Portrait” seemed to be about Sloan accepting herself for who she is (in songs like “Thoughts” and “Thank God”) and figuring out how to deal with the concept of death (referring to “Dancing with Your Ghost” and “Smiling When I Die”). In contrast, “Only Child” has deeper reflections on her past relationships, her hopes for the future, and who she wants to be. In general, this album feels as though she is taking a step back to reflect.

“I keep calling this sad woman Sloan instead of sad girl Sloan,” Sloan said in an interview with Paper Magazine on the day that the album was released. Sloan discussed why she feels like this album is her most adult one yet and how she was trying to blend different ideas together, like cynicism and hope. 

She blends worlds together in her album as she combines her old and new styles, demonstrating musical maturity in her song, “Santa’s Real.” She sings, “I want to live in a world where people don’t get hurt/And everybody’s got enough money/Where nobody ever gets sick or has to skip a meal/ I want to live in a world where Santa’s real.” The song juxtaposes her childlike worldview with her adult perspective. It stands out from many of her other songs because it is not about love problems; it is about wanting the world to be different. The high-pitched, echoey harmonies in the chorus, the soft drum beat, and the sentimental lyrics give the song a melancholy, rainy-day vibe. 

Hypochondriac,” the fifth track, also has a rainy-day vibe. The song’s structure relies on some simple acoustic guitar-picking and her voice. It is about how Sloan used to not treat her body well, but now that she has met someone special to her, she feels compelled to change her attitude towards life. She sings, “Now I’m scared of planes and heart attacks/ If I die, I’ll never get you back.” According to Dictionary.com, a hypochondriac is someone “who worries or talks excessively about his or her health.” It’s a sweet message, most likely written about someone she loves deeply. It is sweet because she changed her worldview for herself, not because someone else made her. 

The song “Matters to You” stands out because it is a pure love song and Sloan doesn’t usually write many of these. The song has a dreamy atmosphere, composed of her signature harmonies and catchy drum beat. She sings, “You make me feel like I’m someone, you do.” She sounds so happy and at peace about where she is, and as a fan, it is satisfying to hear this change in her music. 

Someone You Hate” is my personal favorite from the album. Every time I hear it is better (and sadder) than the last. The song is filled with three main emotions: regret, disappointment, and nostalgia. In this song, Sloan describes a story, from the beginning to the end of a relationship, as she “went from someone you love to someone you hate.” The live beat is fun and almost conversational. It is the kind of song one might want to play in the car ride with friends but the lyrics make it less so. She sings, “We were growing/ Growing apart/ and I knew I had to break your heart.” It is a perfect song to listen to when getting over a break-up.

Is It Just Me?” is a perfect song for anyone with many unpopular or unshared opinions. It shows Sloan at her best — cynical and questioning the way that other people think about things, wondering if she is truly alone in the way that she feels. She sings about several of her opinions, including (but not limited to) these: marriages are outdated, marijuana is classy, and religion is a business. Her comedic side shines through on this song.

After only a year, Sloan has come through with several strong new tracks. This review highlighted my favorites. Based on her music, it seems that she is at a positive place in her life. Although the mood of the tunes in this album did not necessarily coincide well with the celebratory spirit of the weekend after the end of module A, it was still great to hear Sloan’s voice again and to add some new bops to my Apple Music playlist.