Soccer Mommy is the musical project of singer/songwriter Sophie Allison. Her studio album Clean is an indie rock album dripping with emotion. The record is a thoughtful mediation on relationships, infatuation and feelings of teenage sadness and inadequacy. Allison excels both in her writing of each song and in her delivery to create one of the most powerful albums of 2018 thus far.
The vocal performance is outstanding throughout the album. Allison delivers pained, airy vocals that both seem distant and are clearly understood. Her voice is tender, and her delivery is delicate. The hooks on the record will stick with listeners, and her pleasant melodies nearly make you forget how tragic the subject matter is.
Accompanying her is a guitar that at times wanders with her voice and at other times delivers lightly distorted chords. The musical style varies from quieter songs with a soft vocal delivery to louder, more emotionally-charged tracks. The vocals are the highlight musically, with the instrumentation there to drive it all home.
Throughout the record, Allison conveys this feeling of inadequacy. Her opening track “Still Clean” describes a relationship that ended poorly and ends with the repeating phrase, “Only what you wanted for a little while.”
Another track, “Last Girl,” describes how she wishes she could be like the girl her current boyfriend dated. She compares the last girl to a sun and compares herself to a dying flower. Throughout the album, Allison conveys these feelings of inadequacy and her desire to deserve love. It is apparent throughout the first nine tracks that Allison’s perception of herself is unhealthy and that toxic relationships have contributed to this negative self-image.
The album also conveys the deep feelings of desire that often accompany young romance. Allison highlights relationships that have not worked out for her in the past that have marred her. The song “Your Dog” describes an abusive relationship, and the song “Flaw” describes when she lost her virginity and later regretted it.
The tracks on this album are tragic, and each will hit home emotionally for listeners. Each track explores an aspect of relationships, infatuation, desire and self-image and contains long-lasting lyrics.
The album covers a variety of topics but adheres to a central theme about how the relationships and experiences Allison has had have shaped how she views herself. Her reoccuring thoughts of inadequacy are put to rest with the concluding track, “Wildflower.” In this song, Allison points out how she failed to accept herself in the past and how this caused problems for her. The song describes how she is more accepting of who she is and has a healthier self-view.
Clean is an emotional outpouring from Sophie Allison that explores themes relevant to young people, with a keen focus on relationships and self-image. Allison’s album is a deeply emotional experience that will remain with listeners who decide to give it a chance.