Molly Burch has been singing since a pre-teen, tapping into her smoky, emotion-laden voice after greats like Billy Holiday and Nina Simone. Making her start in Austin, Texas, she has travelled to her hometown of Los Angeles to record her latest record, Daydreamer, with her producer of choice, Jack Tatum. Instead of her 60s and 70s feel in the past, this record leans heavily on the 80s aesthetic: something perfect for her dynamic voice, the intricate musical compositions, and the sincerity of her self-exploration.
She has spent time with the members of Tennis, and they both throwback to a time when musicality was of the highest order, as well as songs that you can sing without any sense of irony. I’m looking for something special / One in a million, honey,” she starts off the album, with full on disco strings. “Be careful, I’m so fragile / It’s not even funny / Ooo / I’m made of glass / And I will always be like that.” She sounds a bit like Lana Del Rey on this track, but throughout taps more into eighties singers like Whitney Houston.
The genesis of the album was finding her journals from when she was 13. In some ways her life has changed greatly, and in some ways she feels like she’s living out some of the same dramas as when she was a pre-teen. This is captured most specifically on the song “2003,” but the feel of the whole record is that of a woman coming of age. Relationships that aren’t “Unconditional,” and the need to shed the fantasy. The desire to cry an ocean because of life’s struggles, like “Baby Watch My Tears Dry.” As well as the very moving tribute song, “Tattoo,” about a friend that she lost when she was just 19 years old, and how much the world, with climate change and the internet, etc, has changed in those many years passed.
For anyone looking for an 80’s revival, this album is a real treat, seeing what Burch can do with her adept voice and what her and Tatum can do to make the songs just as thrilling as the radio hits of that time. “When I wanna make my bed / Then I want to lie in it / Close my eyes,” she ends the album. Where her pre-teen self didn’t have the stress of adult responsibility, Burch knows in releasing this album that she’s making her mark, and she seems confident that it will find a home in hearts, young and old. It’s an astonishing feat, the ten tracks; songs that are well-written and well-performed. Time will tell if people prefer this poppier version of Burch or the songs that she’s released before.
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