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Faye Webster plays it cool with ‘Underdressed at the Symphony’

Faye Webster released her fifth album, "Underdressed at the Symphony," on March 1.
Faye Webster released her fifth album, "Underdressed at the Symphony," on March 1.

Faye Webster’s music feels like a warm hug.

Somehow, it’s perfect for all seasons, whether you’re curled up in a blanket during the winter, out on a therapeutic walk in the spring, having a bonfire during the summer or sipping on coffee in the fall.

On March 1, Webster released her fifth studio album, “Underdressed at the Symphony.” The title, which is based on an experience that Webster has, captures the feel of the record — awkward adulthood full of yearning and simply living day-to-day.

The album opens with “Thinking About You,” a nearly seven-minute long track in which Webster finds herself ruminating over a past lover. I was a bit shocked by the decision to start the record off with such a lengthy song. Lyrically, it’s a bit repetitive, but that doesn’t ruin the vibe.

“But Not Kiss,” one of the album’s singles, continues with the breakup narrative. The song begins with Webster’s soft, isolated vocals before erupting into a beautiful, brief cacophony of piano, drums and bass.

This track was an immediate standout for me; the lyrics are simple, but Webster’s voice perfectly captures the yearning that comes after a breakup.

“Wanna Quit All the Time” is a self reflective track with a twangy, country-esque guitar to accompany Webster’s vocals. Webster gets quite personal here, admitting that she feels freaked out by the attention that comes with being famous. While I can’t relate to that aspect of the song, I resonated with the themes of overthinking and feeling self conscious.

The next single, “Lego Ring,” features rapper Lil Yachty, who is a childhood friend of Webster’s (something I didn’t know until I first heard this track). I’m not a fan of this song — it’s a bit disjointed, with Yachty’s autotuned voice mixing with Webster’s and a strange pacing.

I think the idea of Webster and Yachty collaborating on a song as childhood friends is endearing, but the execution just isn’t there for me.

“Feeling Good Today,” another single, had the potential to be my favorite song off the record, but there’s one thing holding it back: the autotune. I adore Webster’s lyricism here; it feels as if she’s singling me out with lines like, “I’m feeling good today / I ate before noon” and “I’ll probably buy something dumb / Because I am pretty childish.”

But the autotune laid over Webster’s vocals is distracting and makes the song difficult to listen to, which is disappointing to say the least.

“Lifetime” is the album’s last single, and, despite its repetitiveness, it’s a sweet track about reflecting on a relationship. Webster acknowledges that she can’t imagine herself before her lover; she understands them in a deep way. While this song is rather simple, there’s a profound message about love that I appreciate.

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Another romantic track, “He Loves Me Yeah!” isn’t as profound as “Lifetime,” and it’s also not one of my favorites. The lyrics are cute, but I’m just not a fan of it sonically.

“eBay Search History” is a mellow, sardonic track with conversational lyrics. I wasn’t very fond of it upon my first listen, but I’ve since come to enjoy it. I’m a big fan of the way Webster writes; it feels straightforward yet poetic at the same time.

The album’s title track is the saddest, as Webster sings of her past relationship in a melancholic, reflective way. The instrumentals are gorgeous, and the twangy guitar from “Wanna Quit All the Time” makes a return.

The record closes with “Tttttime,” which doesn’t feel very fitting to me. It’s an earworm, but I think it would’ve fit in better after “eBay Search History.” Although I don’t think it should’ve been the final track, I found myself relating to Webster’s lyrics yet again, especially with the verse, “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.”

“Underdressed At the Symphony” isn’t much different from Webster’s previous work besides a few slightly more experimental tracks. I don’t see myself returning to it as much as I do with her past two records.

Regardless, Webster is a gem of an artist, and maybe I’ll find this record more fitting for a different season.

Rating: 7/10