Faye Webster looks inward on latest album

By Asha Burtin

Atlanta-born singer-songwriter Faye Webster has returned with her fifth studio album, released on March 1. “Underdressed at the Symphony” is an album that reminds me so much of what makes listeners love Webster. Her fusion of folk and country with hints of soul music, all while writing about being in between phases of life and navigating new emotions, truly makes this album stand out.

Webster wrote and recorded this album after a breakup, and we can hear her wrestling with the feelings surrounding that in the first track, titled, “Thinking About You,” and on “But Not Kiss,” the second song on the album. The whole 6 minutes and 36 seconds of the first track very clearly revolve around a specific person. Webster sings, “I’m thinking about/Thinking about you/I’m thinkin’ about/Thinkin’ about you/And you said you were sure it’ll work out this time/I’m holding you to it, I knew you were right.” This soft but repetitive start sets the tone for the album as the instrumental undulates while Webster sorts out her emotions.

The second track gets a bit more detailed as Webster describes what it is like to navigate the fact that someone is no longer a part of your life. She sings, “I want to sleep in your arms, but not kiss/I long for your touch, but don’t miss/Don’t want to regret any of this.” She continues to discuss these hard feelings in the third track, titled, “Wanna Quit All the Time.”

The halfway point of this album takes a turn for the better, with songs “Lego Ring,” featuring Lil Yachty and “Feeling Good Today.” These tracks are much more upbeat and signify the fact that Webster did not feel unhappy all the time, and more so that her mood was fluctuating as she crafted this album. Her collaboration with “Lego Ring” was met with slight confusion on the internet, as Lil Yachty was an unexpected artist for Webster to collaborate with. However, the duo created a very interesting song that once again sits at a crossroads in terms of genre, like much of Webster’s music. 

The sound made sense for the two, as Lil Yachty has branched out in terms of his style as well, with most of his recent album branching into psychedelic rock, despite the bulk of his career being a hip-hop and rap artist. Beneath the song’s fun nature, there appears to be an added layer of meaning, suggesting that Webster is still holding out for her love life, as she sings, “Me and you the dream team/Always together like string beans/Your left hand up in every pic/’Cause your Lego ring is sick,” in the last verse of the song. “Feeling Good Today” describes Webster’s day-to-day routine, a topic many of us would call mundane. Lines like, “I’m feeling good today/I ate before noon/I think that’s pretty good for me,” suggest that the singer-songwriter is finding the beauty in her life by taking it day by day without someone else there. My favorite song on the album is the sixth track, “Lifetime.” Webster truly slows down and takes her time in this song, opening with, “Can’t imagine me/Before you/In a lifetime/In a lifetime.” This song is repetitive, just like “Thinking About You,” but it serves a purpose, almost becoming a mantra for the singer as she lets go of what once was.

The last two tracks of the album, “Underdressed at the Symphony” and “Tttttime” serve as a great conclusion to what the album encompasses: healing is not linear. Webster sings, “Are you doin’ all the same things?/I doubt it,” as she talks about what she does with her time to get her mind off of the breakup while wondering about that very person. However, in the last track she is once again describing what she does with her life now that she is single, as she sings, “I get lost in a song/Take a walk, call my mom/Don’t go out anymore/In half an hour, I’ll be bored/I got t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-time/T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-time-ime.” She repeats the word “time” 16 times in the song, demonstrating that she is thinking about what to do with it, such as going to the symphony underdressed.

This album is important because it is truly introspective. It appears that Webster is less concerned with pointing fingers when it comes to the end of her relationship, and is more so taking the time to break down her feelings while trying to go about life as usual.

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