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Lola Young's budding continues on My Mind Wanders and Sometimes Leaves Completely

"My Mind Wanders and Sometimes Leaves Completely"

Release date: 26 May 2023
Lola Young - My Mind Wanders and Sometimes Leaves Completely cover
24 May 2023, 09:00 Written by Tanatat Khuttapan

BRIT Rising Star–nominated Lola Young is always going to write about romance.

Her first studio album Intro, released in 2019, mainly touched on love in disrepair, with “heartbreak” being one of the most frequently used words. Later EPs – Renaissance in 2020 and After Midnight in 2021 – never shied away from it, and through these, she has amassed a collection of monologues about relationships gone wrong and the glimmering moments of lovesickness and infatuation. But on her sophomore record, My Mind Wanders and Sometimes Leaves Completely, she ventures out to topics that are actually integral to her psyche but were previously unexplored: her mind and its carriage of depression, anxiety, and mental disorder. Even though love remains the main subject of the album, these new additions bring more depth and personality to the music.

Despite the welcomed supplement, however, My Mind Wanders loses its spark by succumbing to the lacklustre, almost worn-out “defaults” of pop music. You instantly recognise the inclinations that these songs will fall into: verses seamlessly colliding into choruses, then a switch in melody right after. Shuffling heartbreaks in a never-ending loop. Merely in the first seconds of “Annabel’s House,” a prediction of it being a breakup ballad arises, and it actually is; the song begins with hums of crestfallen piano, stifled chatter, and distorted electronic synths, setting an atmosphere as melancholic as Lorde’s “Liability”. Due to this shortcoming, her identity isn’t truly distinctive in the music scene – her creative vision blurred as it blends too well with others in the mainstream.

The heart of My Mind Wanders is Young’s gifted storytelling. Her verses are as expressive and climactic as the passionate feelings rested in her voice. On “What Is It About Me”, after brooding over her partner’s clandestine affair, she confronts them with an affecting punchline: “What is it about me that makes you question your life / And lets you make me question mine?” The pain of being invisible in the strings of their life is searing, enhanced by her effective songwriting and husky vocals similar to those of Alessia Cara’s. The stories she unveils here can get dull and repetitive – as they are designed to be relatable to as wide an audience as possible – but the way she tells them is, more often than not, captivating enough to sit through the 3-minute runtime.

Her emotional lucidity is generally compared to that of Adele’s, and indeed glimpses of the resemblance can be spotted on certain songs (“Pretty in Pink”, “Black Cab”). She sings with her voice extremely close to the microphone – whispers, screams, and all alike recorded in serene clarity. What’s different is the vocal power and lyrical themes; where Young sings of gritty heartbreaks, Adele sings of deep ruminations about the state of being left behind by a man she once loved so dearly. Young is, of course, still an artist budding, following the paths once traversed by her beloved idols. She is far from being fully fledged, but as she scouts for her own sound with releases such as My Mind Wanders, it isn’t without hope that she will find one soon.

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