You remember specifically hearing a particular musician for the first time, understanding almost instantly they’d play a meaningful role in your life. Listening to Bon Iver and Haim provided that feeling. Recently I heard another artist that fit that description.
There have been a handful of songs mostly during college where I experienced a similar feeling. I’d play them on a loop late night studying, or on the radio at WSBU 88.3 The Buzz. For the past two years, I’ve done a shit job listening to new music, especially new artists. Bon Iver’s 22, A Million and Lorde’s Melodrama are probably the two albums I’ve listened to most since late 2016. I’m usually listening to music as I write stories for my day job after transcribing interviews, or when I’m not listening to podcasts on drives, or while washing dishes, but it’s the same dozens of songs that have frequented a Spotify playlist for weeks, sometimes months, on end. The past couple weeks I’ve been finding newer artists, and Soccer Mommy has risen to the top of the listens.
Soccer Mommy certainly doesn’t make happy music, which means she might not be for everybody. She’s only 20, and believe it or not, her real name isn’t Soccer Mommy. Her real name is Sophie Allison, and her voice and her guitar create one of the more refreshing listening experiences. Her music, accurately self-described as “chill but kind of sad” on her bandcamp page, has already made an impact on my life. Last week my siblings purchased her debut album Clean on vinyl for my birthday. It’s the kind of thoughtful present you remember for a long time.
Her lyrics aren’t entirely complex. The simple yet potent message behind the songs brings back memories of college days. She deals with relationships, too, just like any other musician. Soccer Mommy’s “Cool” symbolizes a person Sophie wants to be like. She describes this girl named Mary who lives her life the way she wants, not caring about the public’s opinion. Sophie described the song on Consequence of Sound: “Cool” creates this figure of everything I want to be. It’s fun and upbeat because it’s like a hopeful moment where I’m thinking about how I’m going to be moving forward in my life. However, it’s idealizing things that won’t necessarily make me happy.”
As a matter of fact, Sophie broke down her entire album on Consequence of Sound, which is an intimate way of opening up for an artist, I mean other than literally writing music. She’s able to tell her complete story by breaking down what each song represents. Some of the songs, like “Flaw”, are deeply personal. She mentioned it’s something she’s never written about before, and she even admits the song’s message still “kind of puts her in a weird mood.” The level of trust Sophie has with her audience makes it even easier to enjoy her music.
Listening to Soccer Mommy, especially the other night on vinyl for the very first time, provided a fleeing sense of nostalgia. There’s an innocence behind her music. Sophie definitely has experienced heartbreak, jealousy and feeling insecure, like in her song “Last Girl,” but the level of innocence remains throughout. It’s not like Soccer Mommy just randomly appeared on the music scene. Currently she’s touring with Paramore. She regularly put out EPs with titles like “songs for the recently sad,” “songs from my bedroom” and “for young hearts,” which were released from 2015 through 2016 when, with some being released before she even turned 18. Then, in 2017, she put together Collection, remixing some of her favorites from her earlier releases. Clean represents Soccer Mommy’s first studio album, which means she’s essentially arrived, even though she had already been a commitody. Earlier this year, Fat Possum released the album. Pitchfork raved about it. NPR, too. Stereogum named it the fifth best album of 2018 (so far) in early June.
Clean resonates so strongly on a number of levels. Soccer Mommy has this patient-sounding voice. It’s enticing to hear a fresh perspective that brings back memories from high school and younger college days. The name Soccer Mommy is substantially badass, too. There’s something about Soccer Mommy that has her revered in my strangely wired brain with the likes of Bon Iver and Haim already, and I’m here for it.