Arlo Parks released her first album Collapsed in Sunbeams on January 29th, and to use her own words, her record has a powerful way of “making rainbows out of something painful.” The London-based Parks makes deeply personal music originating from her life experiences; she thrives as a queer Black female artist in an indie scene historically dominated by white male voices by writing beautifully and openly about love, sexuality, and acceptance from perspectives the genre too often overlooks. The nostalgic lead single “Green Eyes,” sees her reminiscing about a summer fling with a girl not yet out to her own family: “I wish that your parents had been kinder to you / They made you hate what you were out of habit.”
The album teems with empathetic storytelling, with songs like “Caroline,” which narrates a breakup witnessed from afar, or “Hope” and “Black Dog,” in which Parks sings about caring for friends dealing with isolation and depression. Laid back drum lines mix with swirling piano, guitar, and synth licks that compliment a smooth singing voice, blending Collapsed in Sunbeams’ tracks into a unique melancholia. Throughout the album, Parks draws entrancing choruses from sad or messy situations in a way that creates repeat value. Collapsed in Sunbeams stays true to its title as streaks of light and positivity weave through the entire album, permeating even the darkest moments with a glimmer of hope and welcome complexity.
Brendan Hegarty is a freshman in the SFS and the Suggests Editor.