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Arlo Parks – Collapsed Sunbeams

March 31, 2021
Arlo Parks, née Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho

For long time followers of this blog, you may have picked up on the fact I have a thing for female singer songwriters. It started with Joni Mitchell in the late 70s. Arlo Parks is my latest infatuation. Arlo Parks has been getting lots of hype in anticipation of her debut album that came out 1/29/21. So I have not exactly discovered her.

Per her website:

Arlo Parks is a singer-songwriter from London. In her words she spent most of school feeling like that black kid who couldn’t dance for shit, listening to too much emo music and crushing on some girl in her Spanish class. Her songs are confessional and tender, mainly inspired by Portishead and Earl Sweatshirt.

Per her website

I don’t like having to label music, but it is a useful way to explain what an artist or band sounds like. For Arlo Park I would call it “folk soul.” It has the intimacy and simplicity of folk music and some subtle funk and hip-hop vibe to give it soul.

Park is known as a poet and songwriter. The album opens with a spoken poem (not a rap) and a few of the other songs have spoken word parts. For the most part Park is singing in a relaxed easy-going style. Lyrically the songs are relationship oriented. They alternate between first person obsessions and third person observations. Most of the songs are stories – almost mini movies. The instrumentation has more of a hip hop beats feel than typical R&B or soul music. There is a freshness and originality to the album. It sounds nothing like Maggie Rogers’ Heard It In A Past Life, but it has the same sincere and youthful vibe. I love the Britishness of her phrasing.

I know it can be hard to commit to a whole album when sampling a new artist. If you just want a little taste, try “Black Dog.” That is a great example of what Arlo Parks is all about. I have a feeling I am going to wrap myself up in this album for the next few months.


From → Music Reviews

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