Faye Webster takes a step back from the limelight

Heartbreak is always mundane, often painful and sometimes quite a lonely feeling to process. To hear a breakup album from someone like Faye Webster, who has built much of her career off soppy songs about love, is quite a shock but it’s a reminder that feelings come and go and it’s all just part of being human. 

The title of Webster’s new record, Underdressed at the Symphony, takes inspiration from trips the singer would take to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as a distraction from everyday life. There’s the occasional nod to these visits sonically too, particularly on ‘Lifetime’ where the strings sit quietly atop the slow thump of a drum kit, piano and guitar. The instrumental arrangements across the album take centre stage and it seems that the singer wants it this way.

Honesty is perhaps one of Webster’s greatest qualities. On every album, there’s at least one serious song in which she details a dilemma she’s faced. On ‘Wanna Quit All the Time,’ she grapples with the possibility of quitting music and reflects on the unsettling nature of fame: ‘I wanna quit all the time / I think about it all the time / it’s the attention that freaks me out…’. It’s a valid reaction to have from someone whose voice has taken over Instagram Reels and TikTok trends; she was big before but not THIS big. It’s a lot to take in. 

There’s a slip away from the seriousness of much of the record on a couple of tracks like ‘Lego Ring,’ which features long-time friend and artist Lil Yachty. There’s nothing deep to note here, it’s just the pair having fun on a track written about a piece of jewellery she wants. ‘He Loves Me Yeah!’ is perhaps the closest thing to a love song across the record too, as she highlights her gratitude for the simple gestures of a relationship like brushing your partner’s hair. 

Overall, Webster feels much more reserved on this album, more hesitant to let listeners in on the full 411 of her relationship breakdown. Instead, she lets the instruments lead the way so she can take a step back from the spotlight slightly. Thankfully however, she hasn’t lost the personality that shines through in her previous works. 

Honest as ever 
Stepping back from the spotlight 
Instrumentals shine

Underdressed at the Symphony is available now via Secretly Canadian. You can stream / purchase via all major platforms by clicking here.

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