Faye Webster strikes a fresh chord with her latest album, “Underdressed at the Symphony”

Faye Webster strikes a fresh chord with her latest album, “Underdressed at the Symphony”

March 18, 2024 in DJ Picks

by dj maia hee

Faye Webster has done it yet again with her fifth album, “Underdressed at the Symphony.” Coming out of a three-year hiatus after releasing a fan favorite, “I Know I’m Funny haha,” in 2021, her latest release certainly did not fall short.

Filled with genre-bending instrumentation and her signature, dreamy vocals to round out the message, Webster brings a sort of humanness to the album that demands your attention through both the profound and unserious aspects of being alive.

The opening track, “Thinking About You,” is a bittersweet introduction that perfectly describes the slow burn of memories that leave you yearning for lost experiences. Lyrically simple and repetitive, the song reflects the sometimes painful routine of vulnerability and overthinking in response to heartbreak.

Do not be fooled, however, by the seemingly clear opening. This album is not solely a story of a lost relationship, but one about living through everything that life throws at you - the good, the bad, the silly, the monotonous and everything in between. In songs like “Wanna Quit All the Time,” Webster touches on the pressure of living those experiences, but contrasts it with the understanding that things take time to settle. The lyric “I think I’ll figure it out,” is sung repeatedly in combination with subtle, twinkly instrumentals to fill out the sound, illustrating a mantra for both Webster and listeners. The singer makes it clear that despite confusion, heartbreak, and the unknown, things can work out how they are meant to.

Continuing with an all-encompassing theme, Webster contrasts serious, hard-hitting topics with the simplicities of living. Her song “Feeling Good Today” narrates the small observations of the day-to-day. Her auto-tuned vocals matching the light, playful tone of the song’s lyrics serve as a reminder halfway through the album not to forget the small things when everything starts to feel too heavy. Additionally, with lyrics like “I got paid yesterday / I’ll probably buy something dumb / Because I am pretty childish,” Webster cuts through with the same level of honesty that is strewn throughout the entirety of the album. It’s this honesty, even in the small things, that allows both the deep and the lighthearted to coexist. Moreover, “Underdressed at the Symphony” reflects the wide scope of life, not just the parts that seem worth talking about. Other songs, such as “Lego Ring” and “eBay Purchase History” bring a similar level of playfulness to the album with a stream of conscious way of storytelling that appropriately breaks up the heavier moments. In many ways, I resonated with these songs as a transition, a reflection of reality as it ebbs and flows in its cycle.

The title track, “Underdressed at the Symphony,” calls back to the confusion and lingering feelings associated with heartbreak. As a glimpse into the intimacy of it all, Webster bares her soul through somber lyrics such as “I’m underdressed at the symphony / Cryin’ to songs that you put me on / Are you doin’ all the same things? / I doubt it.” To match the tone and lyrics of what Webster portrays here, the song also implements classic symphony strings and a warm, mellow piano riff at the end, alluding to the track’s setting and the melancholic mystery and finality of becoming unfamiliar with someone you once knew so deeply.

The last track of the album, “Tttttime,” is beautifully simple and raw in its composition. For me, the placement of the track as the final note for listeners is a perfect ending to a cohesive story that flows from beginning to end. In this song, Webster emphasizes that despite the feeling that the world around her is moving all too fast, there are so many things that can, and should, be taken in slowly. Just as she takes time in her vocals, the curiously light instrumentals are right there with her, following the tempo of existence wherever it goes.

As a whole, “Underdressed at the Symphony” tells a story of resilience and the sometimes messy, sometimes bemusing truth of life. Although classic concepts of love and loss and components of Webster’s sound shine through in this album, she shows her musicality and flexibility through the mixing of jazz, tropical and rock elements to convey an impactful message. Especially for everyone who is working to pave their own path, this album was a fresh reminder that not everything has to be planned out, serious or perfect. Life happens, and Webster embraced that fact with unwavering confidence in what has come her way thus far and in what might be to come.

Find Faye Webster's music, upcoming tour dates, and socials here!

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