Only Child (Album Review) // Raving about my 2020 album of the year

Sasha Sloan - Only Child | Album Review

by Sasha Sloan
16 Oct 2020 | 10 songs, 34 min 42 sec
Indie & Alternative

Album Overview

I haven’t been obsessed with an album this much since stages, and much like how that album got me through a difficult year, Only Child was the soundtrack to my October, November, and early December 2020. Since I’m not doing a 2020 music wrap-up I figured I should at least talk about my album of the year, right? So let’s get into it.

[If you do want to know what my music of the year was, here are some links: best of 2020 (bullet journal edition) {where I chose six songs a month and compiled a playlist}, Your Top Songs 2020 {Spotify auto-generated}.

Track by Track

I’ve listened to this album so much I could pretty much ramble about any of the tracks without prompting, but I’m listening to the album track by track anyway for the vibes πŸ™‚

β˜… Matter To You β˜†

The guitar chords that open this song. Just hearing them gets me into a mood. It really is such a perfect way to start the album; the consistent guitar strumming as a backdrop to the soft vocals which make you really listen to the words. And it amps up a little in the second verse with the introduction of drums, keeping it interesting.

β˜… Only Child β˜†

This song gets me every time. The way it’s soft piano that opens this time, and then the guitar, later the introduction of strings… Again, very much a living room record and not something you’d blast out in an arena but that’s what makes it special. I’m not an only child, but as the older sibling who’s always wanted to not have that responsibility there’s so much to relate to in this song.

β˜… House With No Mirrors β˜†

I think I like the instrumentation of this one a little less; it’s a bit more upbeat, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s simply a different vibe. The guitar fades into the background easily enough when you’re listening to the melody and lyrics, but I’d prefer it if they were less noticeable. Sasha Sloan has that honesty in what she writes which I love, and this song is the perfect example of that. We get to hear a bit more of her upper belting range as well. I think my favourite part of this one is the little melody lines in the second chorus (electric guitar, I think?) that come as an answer to the lines she sings. And the instrumental vocal bridge has a slight haunting vibe, which leads onto the lyrics perfectly, and the outro!

β˜… Lie β˜†

Lie is a song I fell in love with the first time I heard it. The recurring instrumental is way too good, and the vocals are sublime. It builds up beautifully to the chorus. This is one of the louder songs, but it’s so suitable for blasting out your car radio! The fact that she was able to perfectly capture how someone else was feeling about her though… Talent.

β˜… Hypochondriac β˜†

I spent the entirety of October and most of November obsessed with this song. The guitar here is amazing, and there’s something about Sasha’s vocal delivery on this song that has me utterly mesmerised as if it were a siren song. I associate this song a lot with These Violent Delights because I would play it and then read the book (while not studying for my econ final exam, oops).

β˜… Is It Just Me? β˜†

When this song first came out, I liked it, but it really did not grow on me with time; precisely the opposite. I get that it was a Charlie Puth rewrite, but I really don’t think it belonged on this album just because the subject matter was so different from the rest of the album; because of that, I found it hard to connect to the music. I love the instrumental, and it fits perfectly with the vibe of the album, but the lyrics just don’t.

β˜… Santa’s Real β˜†

Unlike Is It Just Me?, this song did grow on me over time! I’m going to keep raving about the instrumentation on this album but it’s so good, the chords that underline Sasha’s voice here are perfect. It does give me a bit of a Christmassy vibe especially when the production is a bit fuller, which suits the song so well!

β˜… Someone You Hate β˜†

This song is so beautiful and I associate it with my WIP because it’s very much one of those situations I’m writing about. There’s something so pure about this song I cannot explain the depth of my love for it, like cmon told your mama I’d take care of you / loaded up the car / drove into the dark that hits hard.

β˜… Until It Happens To You β˜†

I actually got a bit of nostalgia re-listening to this one because it’s been maybe a month or so since the last time I heard it! Again, I love the instrumentation so much, the reverb is perfect. It’s another case of Sasha’s vocals being absolutely on point, and the message is so sad. I love the buildup towards the end, it captures the tension of the lyrics and just how utterly heartbreaking this song is.

β˜… High School Me β˜†

This is another I haven’t heard recently that I still really love! It’s got a really lowkey vibe and I can totally see Sasha being that shy kid in the hallway, always wanting to fit in and perhaps not making the best decisions but it’s born out of that insecurity? Even though the sound of this song is very much Only Child it reminds me more of some of her earlier songs (think Normal, at least i look cool) particularly in terms of the subject matter. The end of the song closes the album so well, both as a message to her former self and a message to fans; you are seen and heard.

Song Tiers

Good but not an instant favourite: Is It Just Me? Only Child, House With No Mirrors, Santa’s Real

Amazing but I think I’m slowly tiring of it and that’s on me: Lie, High School Me

On repeat for hours on end: Hypochondriac, Matter To You, Someone You Hate

Do you listen to much music? What was your favourite album of 2020?


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