REVIEW: ‘The Baby’ capitalizes Samia’s voice

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"The Baby." the new album by alternative artist Samia.

Samia Finnerty is an indie singer-songwriter who was born in Los Angeles and spent her teens living in New York City. She has garnered a following from stand-alone singles like, “Ode to Artifice” and “Someone Tell the Boys” which presented her musical style as anthemic indie rock blended with introspective and insightful lyricism such as “Someone tell the boys they’re not important anymore.” 

Throughout her career, Samia has never been afraid to write directly in reference to the sexism she’s experiencing in the music industry or that she sees in the societal structures around her. Therefore, Samia’s debut album “The Baby,” continues the lyrically pointed anthems of her earlier songs and also delivers more abstract ballads echoing both the anguish and revel of life in her early twenties.

The album opens with an authoritative and vulnerable statement in the form of its first track “Pool.” The song is a brooding ballad that begins with a distorted version of the last voicemail Samia’s grandmother left her, and it transitions into a reflection on purpose and growth. The instrumentation and Samia’s voice build throughout the song from a haunting whisper to a raging cry. The song has no chorus in a traditional sense, except for the repetition of the question, “how long?” 

Therefore, the lyrical aspects of “Pool” set the stage for the themes of love lost and anguish, along with musings on age. The lyrics start with a recollection of a conversation, “Then I said I’m afraid that I need men. You said, need me then,” and transition into a meditation on purpose, “How much longer till the morning? Are my legs gonna last? Is it too much to ask?” Samia certainly draws the listener in on “The Baby” with the first track “Pool” as she toes lines of personal digressions and broader angst with effortless balladry. 

As the rest of “The Baby” unfolds, the familiar alternative styles of Samia’s sound as an artist are joined with folk and indie-pop inspired tracks that all together feel like the best of both worlds as a backdrop for the artist’s voice. Two examples of the various types of vocal variance that Samia uses to put contrast throughout the album are “Triptych” and “Fit n Full.” On “Fit n Full” Samia builds the song on upbeat and melodic indie-rock instrumentation and adds an instantly contagious chorus allowing her commanding croon to be the center stage of the track. 

However, there is also power in the reservation Samia displays throughout “Triptych.” The song has the ghostly aurora of heartache entangled around a rhythmic guitar with Samia almost sighing the chorus, “I’ll be good to you.” As the song builds instrumentally with drums and distorted shouting, Samia finishes off the song by coming back to the same emo guitar loop using her vocal restraint masterfully. 

Some of my favorite overall tracks on the album are “Winnebago” and “Minnesota”  which showcase Samia’s ability to transcend the boxes of stereotypical ‘indie rock’ and create extremely relatable alternative music that will surely gain her a larger audience. On “Minnesota” Samia seems to lyrical be talking about a relationship where she is loving almost reluctantly, but the result is a catchy track that serves as the perfect solo quarantine dance party anthem. While the song “Minnesota” is catchy and upbeat, “Winnebago” delivers a passionate statement.

The song is constantly building emotionally, while Samia tells a tale of pessimistic yearning. All the while, there is little to no instrumentation except constant synth and beating drums. The song climaxes with Samia roaring the lines, “I wanna be your poetry, I’m sick and tired of bluffing,” which feels fitting for an artist who is clearly using her voice and witty songwriting poetically on her first full-length album.  

Lastly, a song that stands out for its lyrical components is “Does Not Heal.” The song is one of the more folksy tunes on the record and is also co-written with frequent collaborator Nathan Stocker of the band Hippo Campus. The track starts with a lyrical recollection of a literal wound Samia received, “I was so scared I had tetanus I checked on it every night, purple and yellow the pregnable skin was so coarse and tight,” and it then transforms into a seemingly remorseful statement towards a former lover, “Give me your hand, gonna bite off however much I can chew, I hope you do not heal.” 

However, the genius in Samia’s songwriting is that she expresses the complexities of being in love with the lyrics at the end of “Does Not Heal” being, “I’m tough, but I hope I do not heal.” 

Samia Finnerty already had a well known and respected name in indie music scenes. However, through the poetically vulnerable lyricism and creative songwriting that capitalizes on her voice, “The Baby” has Samia bursting into the broader alternative music scene and demanding the microphone.