By Toby Barnes, Second Year History
Since uploading the web-cam captured ‘Pretty Girl’ to YouTube in 2017, Clairo’s music has undeservedly been labelled as ‘bedroom pop’. In 2019, she returns with a new bolstered and refined sound.
With the help of co-producer, Rostam Batmanglij (former member of the indie rock band Vampire Weekend) Clairo’s debut album – Immunity, shakes off her previous 'bedroom pop' label. Putting the keyboard to one side, Immunity makes use of cute guitar loops giving Clairo’s music an indie feel that complements her delicate and melancholy sound.
In an interview with Beats 1 in December 2018, Clairo remarked that she’s 'most comfortable writing songs from experiences [she’s] had in relationships.' Although Clairo continues to use this writing style throughout Immunity, it never seems to tire. Each song focuses on a different aspect of love, with the feeling often offset by a conflicting thought or emotion. For example, in 'Softly' – a sweet indie pop song, Clairo asks herself ‘is it alright … to feel this way so early?’ Similarly, 'Alewife' is a sad but loving dedication to a person that saved her from self-harm. Clairo’s focus on love gives Immunity an innocent and youthful feel, a deliberate move by Clairo and her record label Fader, as during a recent interview Clairo claims that she 'made the record for 15-year-old me or 15-year-olds.' Despite this, the album shows a real sense of emotional maturity. Each song is a reflection upon love, telling the 15-year-old listener that love can be complicated. A series of peaks and troughs.
'Sofia', the third single from the album, has a faster tempo than most of Immunity’s other material. Clairo combines a dissonant distorted guitar and electro synths to deliver the song’s message that love can overcome prejudice against homosexuality. 'Sofia' is one of the more honest songs from the album, conveying her emotions with a stark sense of direction and pointed honesty. Further songs such as 'Feel Something' and 'White Flag' are intended to illustrate a sense of loneliness and weariness with the world, however fall behind in comparison the album's stronger tracks. Overall, Immunity has shifted Clairo’s music away from the naive ‘bedroom pop’ tag, incorporating a more polished indie sound, with songs such as 'Sophia' and 'Alewife' suggesting possible avenues for Clairo to grow into in the near future.