Review Summary: desert island disc
What albums would you take with you to your desert island? It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? Do you take your favorite albums, blasting them into eternity, as repetition strip away their meaning and you lose what they meant to you? Do you pick the most varied albums, hoping the constant change of pace will keep you interested longer? Maybe even go with the longest—more time to string them along. Perhaps it's weird that this question can often come down to interest—losing interest, keeping interest, interest is such a fickle thing.
Interest is not something that this record fights against often, even if you’re not swayed by its uber-pop maximalism of flourishing strings and decadent backdrops, with Holter’s voice bouncing around the great hall I imagine this was recorded in with weightless abandon. It's constantly attention-grabbing, never losing your interest and constantly bringing you to new horizons. It’s strange that this record can feel carefree, sandwiched between the weighty plunge of its predecessor (which I very much enjoyed but hardly has stuck itself in my mind as essential), and Aviary
, which was so contrived and packed-in in a way that somehow worked in its album’s favor. This is not to say that Have You in My Wilderness
is an empty, bright affair. There are a wide variety of emotions at stake here, each colored with its own array of sounds, despite the monochromatic album cover. “How Long?” creeps in after the opening pair lull you into safety, gently haunting and reminding you of the stakes of life after a pleasant reminder to not worry so much, and the mountainous "Vasquez" presses forward with more electronic leanings, filling its sound out with an even denser atmosphere than what comes before.
But of course, all of these songs possess a sonic similarity that Holter seems unable to escape on all of her releases. Something about the way she sings is so spirited and dynamic, yet is so her
that it’s hard to escape if it isn’t your thing. The way the album leans fully into its chamber pop stylings with a slight deviation can be suffocating at times, even if there are some changes in tone and pacing throughout the piece. What I mean to say is that this is not one of the best albums ever. This is not one of the most varied albums ever. And yet, for the two days I’ve been aware of its beauty (that’s right, my intent to review preceded my awareness of it), it’s filled me with a hope that few other have in the time that I’ve been locked in my new apartment, very slowly filling with furniture and basic appliances (I still sleep on the futon mattress my friend lent me).
And sure, this whole review might have subconsciously been implanted in my mind by the telling title “Lucette Stranded on the Island,” but after feeling the surge of hope and the anxiety lifted from my mind, my focus became clear. Now that nearly all of us are stuck in the desert islands of our homes, we’re quite lucky that we have access to our phones and computers that let us listen to as many albums as we want. But in this variety maybe we forget the albums we should pick—not just our favorites, but the ones that give us hope and lift our spirits higher. Because in these trying times, we tend to do crazy things to fight our boredom and anxiety, like writing a script or participating in a coordinated review-spam on a dilapidated music site. But we have the power to be healed through art. Find the music, the films, the art that will help you to see this as it truly is—a worldwide hardship that, despite its scope, will inevitably pass. You will be okay. I will be okay. This album convinces me of that.