dear amelia

dear amelia

The renforshort discography essentially doubles as a diary of Toronto alt-singer-songwriter Lauren Isenberg’s transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Still a youth when she dropped her suitably manic 2020 debut EP, teenage angst, and its equally restless follow-up off saint dominique a year later, Isenberg’s first full-length album, dear amelia, arrives in the wake of her 20th birthday, and with it comes a pronounced musical and emotional maturation. Where her music once pinballed between hyperactive grunge/pop hybrids and stark, soul-baring acoustic confessionals, dear amelia instantly plots a steadier course with “i miss myself,” a stargazing anthem that aims for the power-ballad peaks of Oasis and The Verve. Isenberg’s heart still judders with unrequited desire and dysfunctional-relationship frustration, but this time the dramas are cast within the gossamer guitar lines of vintage New Order and the motorik precision of The Strokes (whose frontman is saluted on the drum-machined indie-pop mash note “Julian, king of manhattan”). Even when Isenberg reverts to her old, profane ways on “we’ll make this ok,” she rolls her f-bombed hook into an electro-pop earworm set to a thumping glitter-ball groove by guest Travis Barker. But there is, perhaps, no greater gauge of her growth than “moshpit,” a place that once seemed like her spiritual home but now serves as the vivid metaphorical backdrop on a doomed-romance requiem—which would also fit between Lisa Loeb and Natalie Imbruglia on a ’90s breakup-jams playlist.

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