Showing up to a party on time can ruin your reputation. It’s evidence you didn’t have anything better to do, proof that you put thought into coming, undeniable verification that your social life leaves something to be desired. Lauren once brought one of our friends to a party on time. When he recaps his visit with her, he put serious time into emphasizing how his street cred had been compromised.
This is all to say I want to write about an album that was released nearly a month ago, with the hopes that you’ll accept my lateness as cool and aloof, not late and inconsiderate.
In more than one past post, I’ve made my love of Läpsley known. Falling Short was the first I heard of her work. At that time, I was studying abroad in the Netherlands and–to get all reflective and shit–at a loss of identity. Hearing that song more than a year later, I think of running along the river, sprawling country to one side and winter-withered trees to the other, in a tiny town as part of a tiny community, feeling wholeheartedly that I was falling short as an individual. I think of the steady, building beat and resonant, morphing vocals.
I followed her as she released a slew of singles and EPs of enticing and brooding, but catchy tracks, quickly moving her up my favorite artists list. Her Understudy EP experimented with altering vocals, while Station was slower and more soft spoken. Then we got the Hurt Me EP, which kept in line with Läpsley’s spacey sound, but felt fuller with more prominent, reverberating percussion. While she landed a top spot on my plays, she went widely unknown. Still, I followed her faithfully, listening to “8896” when life just felt up in the air, “Brownlow” when looking for empowerment in redirecting my own path, and “Hurt Me” when everything bottled wanted an explosive outlet.
Once I found out that my girl was releasing her debut album, I was actually nervous. Wet had recently (semi, everything in life is relative now that it’s subject to current chaos) released their debut album after accumulating a solid bunch of singles. Now, I have less negative feelings about the album than most reviewers did, but essentially it was an album of already released singles and filler. I already knew I was in love with half of the tracks before the album was released and I was worried the debut could follow the same formula was Wet. But Läpsley proved me a pessimistic doubter.
Unlike the folks over at Pitchfork (do they even like music), I was impressed with the overall album. Debuting the day before I traveled to Texas, I spent 4 straight hours alternating between Läpsley’s Long Way Home and Kendrick’s untitled unmastered (was kinda a dope flight). I found myself enjoying the news as much as the ones I’d heard probably literally hundreds of times before. “Heartless” features similar experimental work as Understudy, high to low ranging vocals and steadily building instrumentals. “Cliff”, released the week before Long Way Home, is a simple—albeit a bit repetitive—song with an eery quality. Then you have “Tell Me The Truth”, a lazy, laid back track that clinches on the straightforward, but oh-so-real lyrics, “Just tell me the truth // It will hurt less, I guess.” My absolute favorite off the album is a song that if you had described to me first I, would’ve ruined all my hopes for the album. Läpsley, sulky R&B-esque queen, kills it on “Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me).” A song that sounds straight out of the 70’s, “Operator” is about a girl trying to contact some guy and threatening to fall for the operator. She sassily sings, “He doesn’t call me, so put me through, Operator // Maybe I’ll leave him, fall in love with you, Operator.” I’ve never had any interest in rolling skating (or is it rollerblading, I never remember the difference), but rolling skating to this song is now a new goal of mine. Especially when academica is sucking out your soul, causing regular breakdowns, and making you an actual wreck of a human being, this silly song is such a happy, mood-lifting one.
It seems that Läpsley has yet to really gain traction. But I, for life of me, could not tell you why. On this one, cohesive album, she’s proved her versatility with stunning success. She has this almost Florence-like voice that she matches with such creative, catchy, and original arrangements that I, across the board, love. I may be late to the party is expressing this opinion, but I can add that a month later I’m still listening to the album probably at least once a week and at least one of her songs once a day. It’s no secret that I love Läpsley. But I was skeptical and she surpassed the test. Give the girl some traffic, do yourself a favor, and check out Long Way Home.