Even though Night Time, My Time is self-deprecating, Ferreira never asks for a pity party.
Sky Ferreira’s second full-length album has landed all of the “most highly anticipated” records lists of both 2017 and 2018, as fans patiently await a follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed Night Time, My Time. Perhaps I am one of the only excited fans who had not waited so long—I was not drawn to the artist until last year. It was a summer I had lost faith in “boys,” felt misunderstood, experienced a looming sense of dread that everything was going wrong and it was all my fault. Night Time, My Time was written specifically about Ferreira’s own complicated past. It resisted the bubblegum pop genre that may have been destined for her when she was signed to Capitol Records at the 15 after posting songs of hers on MySpace, forcing the singer to come to terms with herself as an artist and as an adolescent in the spotlight. It took five years for Ferreira to release a debut album, as she fought against the pop marker she was handed and the socialite image she garnered in favor of an indie label sound. By the record’s release she was 21, known best for modeling for Saint Laurent and being arrested with then-boyfriend Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV for his possession of heroin. Our circumstances could not have been more different, but the feelings were the same: insecure, misjudged and undervalued. With experiences so specific to her life to draw from, Sky Ferreira created a tinted pop album that felt universal as she uncovered her agency as a young woman in the music world, and the universe at large.
Even though Night Time, My Time is self-deprecating, Ferreira never asks for a pity party. A mixture of electro-pop synths and grimy 90s grunge underline even the gloomiest tales. Ferreira finds humor within her darkest feelings throughout, from starting her record by scoffing “Boys they’re a dime a dozen/ …Boys, they just make me mad” at the guys she’s expected to write lovesick anthems for, producing Suicide-inspired “Omanko,” which is a Japanese word for female genitalia, and being recruited for the adventures of young socialites, or “The Routines of the Young Millionaires” on “Kristine.”
Romance and relationships are prevalent on Night Time, but the most interesting moments of the album are when assumed-to-be love songs turn out to represent other kinds of relationships and situations. “I Will,” a track with synths that would easily fit into any 80s coming-of-age film soundtrack, could be another tale of treating guys as, well, “boys,” as Ferreira hints at her falsetto, singing, “I kiss like I like/ You wait for a sign/ It’s what you want from me.” But like how her personal and public personas have played out, Ferreira insists in the chorus, “Try to teach me a lesson/ I’ll keep, I’ll keep you guessing.” “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)” feels like one of the record’s more applicable songs, as Ferreira contemplates a one-sided relationship. By the second verse, she’s singing about more than a romantic relationship—this one seems like it could take place in a professional setting. “Shaking your head while I try to explain/ You say you don’t wanna hear me complain/ Just trying to get my point across/ You don’t seem to care if I’m feeling lost.” The chorus, “I tried to ask you, but nobody asked me,” represents the common experience of a young woman not only being misunderstood, but not listened to at all. What does it mean when you’re experiencing an emotional crisis, and no one cares to notice?
Ferreira’s combination of her subjectivity with relatability peaks on “I Blame Myself,” an upbeat, New Wave-influenced anthem of self-awareness and recognizing how it feels to be a victim of yourself. The song is specific to Ferreira dating, partying, and simply living in the public eye (“Is it because you know my name?/ Or is it because you saw my face on the cover?”), but the chorus, “I blame myself for my reputation” is a universal, recognizable expression of vulnerability. Being a young woman and displaying your personal life along with your work is a conscious and, unfortunately, a risky choice. There is no control over what will become a highlight of your reputation—whether it’s a drug arrest, a racy album cover, or the songs inside, it’s the public’s choice. The power that comes with admitting this, and the willingness to bear what comes next, is what designates Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time as an exercise in the agency that comes with being vulnerable.