My Favorite Album of 2020 - Michael
(Photo Credit - Brian Ziff)
I'm not going to lie to you, this was a difficult decision to make. So much so that I started writing this article about Phoebe Bridgers' sophomore release Punisher. But the more I started to get into it, the more my head and my heart strayed. While I thought Bridgers' Punisher was an incredible album (it won our top spot on our Top 30 Albums of 2020), the more I was pulled in another direction. Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy delivered an album of her own in color theory that was an absolute force to be reckoned with.
Marks is a 22 year old singer/songwriter that is easily one of the best I've ever seen. She masterfully wrestles with mental health and family issues on color theory. Her songwriting is poised, nuanced, and poignant. Her steadfastness at staring into the abyss that can be mental health issues is an inspiration to fans around the world including myself, whose own mental health issues I've been pretty open about in this space. There's a certain catharsis that comes when I spin this record on my record player. I feel the tension ease right through me as I feel like in Marks there's someone who understands exactly what I'm going through. I'm sure this is similar for many other fans of her music.
Working with Grandstand Media to cover this album provided a lot of background into the process Marks used for writing color theory, that might otherwise be lost on the listener. color theory is broken into three distinct color areas, the first is blue, which evokes melancholy as Marks reflects on depression, self-harm, and more. The second is yellow, which Marks indicates reflects both mental and physical illness. For a little background Marks notes: “My mom has been terminally ill since I was a pre-teen, and I never really found a way to deal with it. On ‘yellow is the color of her eyes,’ I sing about a period when I was on an international tour and kept feeling like my time with her was ticking away”. The final section is gray, which Marks states is for loss, particularly the thoughts of losing loved ones and the inevitability of death.
While Marks may tackle some difficult subjects on color theory she does so with the perfect touch that helps the listener. Many look to up to her for her brutal honesty that is rare in songwriting these days. While many artists would rather be singing about how much money they have, or whatever...Marks is singing about the shit that actually matters. The result has seen Soccer Mommy's success continue to grow as Marks played sold out shows and supported artists such as Vampire Weekend, Kacey Musgraves, and Paramore. Marks finished her year off by releasing a singles series that included participation from artists such as Jay Som. This is the part where I plea with you, that if you haven't given Soccer Mommy's color theory a chance, now is the time. It's definitely worth it, it's an album that's helped me get through the hellish year that has been 2020. If you're like me and music soothes your soul, you can't go wrong with this one.