A.A. Williams
Forever Blue


5.0
classic

Review

by Jesper L. CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
July 5th, 2020 | 64 replies


Release Date: 07/03/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shattering illusions of comfort

While it’s hardly a typical summer album, Forever Blue couldn’t have come at a better time than one in which the vulnerability of all that encompasses life is continuously stressed. A.A. Williams’ debut album is a haunting affair, thriving off passion and impeccable songwriting rather than immediacy. It’s a masterpiece that refuses to let go, in spite of its relatively subdued nature. Simultaneously, however, the album is impressively wide in scope, with each second being devoted to maintaining a gorgeously bleak atmosphere.

Forever Blue’s primary strength can be found in its incredibly touching nature. The album frequently crafts the illusion of intimacy, before shattering it into a thousand blindingly beautiful pieces. The first half of ‘Melt’ primarily relies on the strength of Williams’ voice; something the entire album could easily have gotten away with. Her voice is as fragile as it is confident; bound to break at any point yet seemingly fully at peace with this. Yet, the back half of the aforementioned track sees the intensity increase with the singer holding on for one more, climactic chorus while guitars and drums start crumbling. As Williams quietly sings ’You just couldn’t let me be’, the instruments fully crash as the song disintegrates… before it fades into the next one.

Similarly, opener ‘All I Asked For (Was to End it All)’ showcases Forever Blue’s lyrical strength, and one does not have to look any further than the title. Williams’ words are blunt, wasting as little space as the music, subsequently making for its heartbreaking nature. Much like her voice, there is a certain duality to the artist’s lyricism. Many of her regrets and issues are brilliantly bare bones, yet there is a constantly implied doubt. Right before the chorus repeats the song title, ‘All I Asked For (Was to End it All)’ states that: ’I could see it all / I could not be wrong’. It’s oddly comforting. With depression being one of the absolute worst things to see happening to the ones you love most, it is that implied slither of doubt that has the ability to save lives; the understanding that the past tense of the song title could one day be realised.

On ‘Fearless’, this somewhat devastating aspect is personified by Johannes Persson’s guest spot. The harsh vocals by the Cult of Luna singer provide an entirely new dimension to Forever Blue, not adding aggression as much as it displays the incredible fragility of the album. Moreover, the versatility of Williams’ songwriting, something that has the ability to have gone unnoticed previously, is incredibly clear here. While the screams are in stark contrast with the majority of the record, they feel completely at home. Whether it’s the subtle acoustic touch in ‘Glimmer’, the quiet pianos that open Forever Blue or ‘Love and Pain’s ability to fully realise the potential of a chorus solely consisting of vaguely distinct wails, every strum, every stroke and every single note makes perfect sense.

The closing track, ‘I’m Fine’, provides an incredible sense of closure. Juxtaposing the opening cut’s title, the song retains its intimacy throughout. While a sense of ambiguity is still present as Williams indicates that she’s ’so tired of explaining that I’m fine’, the violins accompanying her trembling voice are astonishingly comforting. This makes the final lyrics ‘I always try to find a place with you’ feel unusually climactic, especially since the song ends on a glimmer rather than an explosion. In this case, Forever Blue’s final glimmer is the sound of birds chirping, before the sound of silence is all that is left.



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user ratings (64)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2020


1389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

album kinda ruined me so yea here's a review, hope it does it justice

Digging: Iress - Flaw

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2020


644 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nice review. i like this. think it will grow on me.

Digging: khotin - Finds You Well

dmathias52
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2020


1446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd! You've got some italics issues with the lyrics at the end of the first paragraph and I think the song is called "All I Asked For (Was to End It All)" not (Was to Fade Away)



Love this one. Was jumping back and forth between a 4 and 4.5, but it absolutely enraptures me. The end of Fearless is amazing

Digging: Bendrix Littleton - Deep Dark South

Lucman
July 5th 2020


4804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ooh Hiss Spun in the rec section has me interested.

EDIT: wait, this is the girl who did that awesome Be Quiet And Drive cover. Definitely putting this as a high priority.

If ya'll when it check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPJGIJl9WRk

Digging: Deftones - Ohms

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice wholesome review Jesp, was listening to this a while ago while walking to work udner the rain, very fitting. She's like the doom version of Sarah Brightman.



Also, haven't checked it, but is Cult of Luna's drummer behind the kit here? Drums reminds me of him at times.

Digging: Iress - Flaw

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Actually it's not Thomas Hedlund, it's Geoff Holroyde from Feeder on drums.

Lucman
July 6th 2020


4804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Unfortunately, can't say this did a lot for me.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


1389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

cheers dmathias, fixed!

and thank you all, doom sarah brightman is v accurate. i do believe the other cult of luna singy guy (fredrik? not sure) does some harmonies throughout as well

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah the crooner is Fredrik I think.

Trifolium
July 6th 2020


18400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review Jesper, have a pos.

Going to check this today, loved her EP.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


4860 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Very good rev Jesper! You're no imPOStor!



Gotta jump on this one too



Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


1389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

thankss trif and dedex!

for anyone who hasn't heard the ep yet, that one's definitely worth checking as well

wildinferno2010
July 6th 2020


952 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"With depression being one of the absolute worst things to see happening to the ones you love most, it is that implied slither of doubt that has the ability to save lives; the understanding that the past tense of the song title could one day be realised."



Yeah, this sums up her vibe exactly. This is a brilliant review, dude.



I loved her EP a lot, so this sounds like it's more of the same, but with some nice little additions. Which sounds perfect.





Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's the EP on steroids

wildinferno2010
July 6th 2020


952 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This general sound appeals to me so effing much

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2020


1389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

'Yeah, this sums up her vibe exactly. This is a brilliant review, dude.'

thanks so much! life's been a lot like this recently, which is definitely why listening to this album wrecked me so much. and yeah agreed, i'll (at least) 4.5 anything that sounds remotely like this hahaha

Trifolium
July 6th 2020


18400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this! Nicely grandiose. Love her voice, don't really love the drum sound though, so 'fake'. But overall this is good!

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 6th 2020


59488 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fearless is wild

Digging: Botany - End the Summertime F(or)ever

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 6th 2020


59488 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A lot of the distorted passages here are the weakest moments for me and feel pretty derivative compared to the rest of the guitarwork but dat riff on Fearless just hits the spot hard

Trifolium
July 6th 2020


18400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I get what you mean. Low 3.5 for now, some parts raised some brows (spoiler: some were mine too, the brows).



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