12 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a rush of conflicting emotions—desire, anger, love, regret—on Thelma Plum’s debut album. The Melbourne singer-songwriter’s album has arrived seven years after she first entered the public eye, but the payoff is great. Whether recounting the strength she found in her Aboriginal identity on the title track, reprimanding an errant partner on “Clumsy Love,” or revealing her innermost fears on “Do You Ever Get So Sad You Can’t Breathe,” she uncovers strength and wisdom in each moment. Gang of Youths frontman Dave Le’aupepe duets on the bittersweet ballad “Love and War,” which highlights the mistreatment of incarcerated minors, while producer David Kahne (The Strokes, Lana Del Rey) helps Plum craft pop textures on the glinting “Not Angry Anymore.” The closing love song, “Made for You,” is wonderful not only for its tender country melodies, but for featuring not one but two revered Pauls: Kelly and McCartney (yes, that McCartney). Yet despite her headline-act collaborations, Better in Blak reveals, above all else, a triumphant, defiant artist worth waiting for.

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a rush of conflicting emotions—desire, anger, love, regret—on Thelma Plum’s debut album. The Melbourne singer-songwriter’s album has arrived seven years after she first entered the public eye, but the payoff is great. Whether recounting the strength she found in her Aboriginal identity on the title track, reprimanding an errant partner on “Clumsy Love,” or revealing her innermost fears on “Do You Ever Get So Sad You Can’t Breathe,” she uncovers strength and wisdom in each moment. Gang of Youths frontman Dave Le’aupepe duets on the bittersweet ballad “Love and War,” which highlights the mistreatment of incarcerated minors, while producer David Kahne (The Strokes, Lana Del Rey) helps Plum craft pop textures on the glinting “Not Angry Anymore.” The closing love song, “Made for You,” is wonderful not only for its tender country melodies, but for featuring not one but two revered Pauls: Kelly and McCartney (yes, that McCartney). Yet despite her headline-act collaborations, Better in Blak reveals, above all else, a triumphant, defiant artist worth waiting for.

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