Soccer Mommy shows that she is working through new experiences and feelings.
Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison may only be 20 years old, but she’s made enough songs from her bedroom over the past two years to fill Collection, a summary of her Bandcamp highlights. The NYU student perfected a homegrown pop formula across such previous releases as Songs from My Bedroom, Songs for the Recently Sad and her first full length via Orchid Tapes, For Young Hearts. Allison’s latest album features her signature sleepy sounds, but reworks them with a full band, and adds tracks that demonstrate a lyrical and personal growth.
Allison has a knack for songwriting that depicts youth’s rites of passage simply, yet distinctly. Cushioned by cozy melodies reminiscent of Jay Som or Frankie Cosmos, Soccer Mommy’s lyrics have always felt like scribbled diary entries and fuzzy Polaroids. Each song is a new entry, a snapshot of a moment captured quickly and heatedly with hopes that her current thoughts and feelings are never forgotten, even when they hurt.
“3 AM at a Party,” originally from For Young Hearts, is an after-dark angle on Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me,” hours after the crush has fallen asleep and without all the sugarcoated high school clichés. “I wish you never got your heart so broke/ I wish you didn’t sleep with her when you were drunk,“ she sings with the same somber sigh as before, but now harmonizing with herself a la Girlpool . “Inside Out,” another repeat from her first album, is here transformed with a full band arrangement. Heavier chords and a harder drumbeat convey anger where sadness used to be, and the chorus, “I can turn you inside out, you know,” sounds more like a threat than a suggestion.
Soccer Mommy’s humor also shines through with the help of the fuller arrangements, giving dark jokes some light with positive grooves. The horrifying, unbearable experience of having a crush is captured wholeheartedly on “Death By Chocolate” as Allison muses, “You smell like cigarettes and how chocolate tastes/ It makes me wanna die but I guess I can wait” before she reaches the chorus, chanting, “I wanna kill myself, I’m gonna go to hell/ And he’s the way I’m gonna do it.” “Try” tackles the diary entry that every teenage girl has written but never told anyone about: falling in love with a stranger on the street: “I still let my dreams fill with your face,” Allison hilariously admits while longing for her missed connection, wondering what their name could be or if they like cats and dogs.
Although all of her songs are still set during confusing, romance-obsessed youth, Soccer Mommy’s new tracks take on fresh emotions and ideas that defy the gendered, “sad girl music” stereotype that Allison has made a point of defying. Collection finally depicts a glimmer of growth for her ambivalent and often insecure narrations. For instance, “Out Worn” is the first Soccer Mommy song in which Allison makes it clear that she knows what she wants, and this relationship isn’t it. Instead of comparing herself to other girls, she unapologetically declares who she is: “Not the girl that you thought I’d be/ My makeup stains all your white tees/ Bite my nails ‘til my fingers bleed/ And I can’t always hide. “
On “Allison,” another new track, Soccer Mommy recognizes the bittersweet feeling of leaving a loved one to pursue one’s own dreams. She ends the track singing, “He won’t ever see those dreams of waiting at the subway…/ ‘Cause you’re not on the next train/ You’re waiting for your own .” With the newest tracks on Collection,, Soccer Mommy shows that she is working through new experiences and feelings–and growing up, taking us with her one song at a time.