22-year-old indie superstar Clairo returns, building on the extraordinary success of her debut album 'Immunity' just 2 years later. Gemma Cockrell explores what makes 'Sling' her most ambitious project yet.
On her sophomore record Sling, Clairo (Claire Cottrill) teams up with Jack Antonoff, one of the most sought-after pop producers of recent years. At first, Cottrill admits she was reluctant to work with him; intimidated by his roster of successful artists – Lorde, Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey, to name a few. However, she ultimately overcame this fear, and Sling was born.
Saying that the album was born seems quite fitting, as Sling was primarily inspired by Cottrill’s discovery of her desire for motherhood, which began after a series of conversations that she had with her mother when spending time at her family home in Atlanta during the pandemic. This led her to adopt her puppy Joanie in December, the namesake of an instrumental song which appears in the latter half of the album.
'... she comes to the realisation that it is necessary to take care of yourself before attempting to care for anyone else.'
Domesticity suddenly became a huge aspect of Cottrill’s life. On Reaper, the first track that she presented to Antonoff in the early stages of the album’s creation, she sings “I keep forgetting that I’ll have a family”, as she contemplates the cycle of life: “I’m born to be somebody then somebody comes from me.” Zinnias continues this discussion, with Cottrill acknowledging that it “Sure sounds nice to settle down for a whilе”. Closing track Management again explores her desires to own a home. Cottrill admits that she wants to embrace that part of life, but this is clouded by feelings of uncertainty about when or how she should embark on that journey.
Amoeba, which is perhaps the most upbeat and jaunty cut on the record, sees Clairo promise not to neglect looking after herself whilst on tour in the future. This circles back to the theme of motherhood, as she comes to the realisation that it is necessary to take care of yourself before attempting to care for anyone else.
'Clairo boldly realises that she must put an end to the cycle of toxicity that she is experiencing with her partner'
Toxic relationships are also a prevalent and recurring theme on Sling. On lead single Blouse, Cottrill wishes for an emotional connection with someone who only seems to care about physical contact. This sentiment is summarised in the lyric “Why do I tell you how I feel? / When you’re just looking down my blouse”. Blouse is not what you would typically expect from the lead single of an album. It is relatively quiet and understated, but simultaneously delicate and beautiful. This can be said for the majority of Sling. On the whole, the album is minimalistic and simplistic, but Cottrill thrives in this organicity and intimacy.
The track Harbor continues this discussion of one-sided relationships, as Clairo boldly realises that she must put an end to the cycle of toxicity that she is experiencing with her partner. The opening track Bambi also sees Cottrill find the courage to move on from a relationship, albeit more tentatively as she fears triggering an argument.
Sling appears to be an emotional journey for Cottrill, as she makes sense of her own feelings as well as the world around her. The track Wade sees her come full circle. She reflects on her former relationships, expressing that she is unable to have regrets because she recognises her personal growth. Instead, she looks positively to the happiness that she knows the future holds.
Written by: Gemma Cockrell
Edited by: Elliot Fox
In article images and videos courtesy of Clairo via Facebook and YouTube.