Devotion

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
 






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Margaret Glaspy
Devotion
ATO

Apr 28, 2020
Web Exclusive

By Lily Guthrie


Lust, love, and loyalty: these are the elements encompassed by Devotion, Margaret Glaspy’s second LP. The album was recorded at Atomic Sound in Red Hook, Brooklyn with producer Tyler Chester (Blake Mills, Jackson Browne), following up her cheeky, no-nonsense debut full-length Emotions and Math in 2016 and her 2018 EP Born Yesterday. In a press release announcing Devotion, Glaspy admitted the album is very different from her debut, adding: “It’s not about being righteous or all-knowing, it’s about letting love in even when you don’t know what will happen when you do. It’s about devoting your heart to someone or something, against all odds.” 

The first track, “Killing What Keeps Us Alive,” delivers a catchy refrain and chromatic illustrations above electro-pop reverb. Themes of girl-needs-boy swivel through her jazz-inspired vocals and mellowed synth, evoking remnants of euro-disco at half speed while being swathed in a sea of new love. More straightforward are “You’ve Got My Number” and “So Wrong It’s Right,” sharp, beat-girl power-pop tunes that absorb Glaspy’s husky warmth. “Heartbreak” features a vintage R&B sound derivative of saccharine Southern soul, instantly contrasted by the lo-fi bedroom pop of “You Amaze Me.” The record drops off with a series of existential questions sung a cappella, with growing instrumental interruption that spins toward the forefront and comes to a halt, with ominous lyrics on album closer “Consequences”—“Whether you’re up, down, the end, or the beginning/The world keeps spinning.”

The Red Bluff, California native, now based in New York City, focuses more on the journey than the destination in her latest work, lyrically evaluating the sacrifices one is willing to make for another person. This extensive soul-searching lays a lofty foundation for grounding the listener, obscuring a confident image of whether Glaspy is simply wandering with purpose or lost. Though her experimentation with synthesizers, electronics, and vocal effects is an ambitious undertaking as an indie-folk artist, many of her expressions are a bit worn out, in opposition from the brazen anecdotes she has presented in the past. Devotion arrived on the wake of her innovative predecessors, but isn’t quite anthemic enough to rise to the top. The album nonetheless illuminates another side of Glaspy and still captures her tact for normalizing particular personal emotion. (www.margaretglaspy.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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