Five on it: Syd bares her emotions for all to witness on Broken Hearts Club
Syd's excellent new album finds her earnestly dissecting and healing from her break-up. Plus new music from Chlöe, Wallice, Pabllo Vittar and Rina Sawayama plus Cathay Jain.
08 Apr 2022
When Syd returned with ‘Missing Out’ just over a year ago, it was a welcome surprise – but definitely a surprise. The track was unexpectedly aching, a mournful hum rooted at its core; ‘Missing Out’ captured a defiant bitterness in heartbreak and consequential heartache, transcending denial to percolate in the slow resentment of grief.
Syd is no longer bitter; the time since writing ‘Missing Out’ has left her with a lot of space for reflection in the wake of her “first real broken heart” that left her knocked for six. Ultimately, she realised she didn’t want her highly anticipated second album, Broken Hearts Club, to become a time capsule for that aforementioned bitterness; it was more important to unpick every layer of emotion knitted into that unfortunately doomed relationship.
With the break-up occurring at the start of the pandemic (yes, we are firmly still in the era of the pandemic album), Syd wasn’t afforded the level of distraction that would come with the momentum of the day-to-day world. Forced to turn inwards – even more so in the echo of where her relationship may have failed – she was surprised by the revelation that she was actually happy with where she was, and who she was. “It forced me to say, ‘…Is there anything wrong with me?’ And nope – there wasn’t,” Syd recently told NME. “That was nice: to come to that realisation that I wouldn’t change anything about myself.”
That poignant realisation meant that she could look to creating without a scathing self-criticism; as such, Broken Hearts Club is a sensitive exploration of her own heart largely at odds with her eclectic project The Internet, and early beginnings as part of rap group Odd Future. Even Syd’s 2017 trap-infused debut album Fin feels unrecognisable when considering her latest output, but before writing she realised she needed to take a pitstop: “I felt a lot of pressure to bury myself in my work. That was my initial knee-jerk reaction. It didn’t sound good. If anything, it was a mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. I needed to heal first.”
That healing was essential; songs such as ‘Fast Car’ wouldn’t weave such rose-tinted, palpitating optimism in its Prince-inspired groove if Syd was still reeling in her distress. The same goes for fluttering ‘Right Track’, embodying the rush and excitement of the connection you’re pursuing seemingly being realised. Elsewhere and her self-critical nature rears its head: “So I can’t fuck it up / ‘Cause they’d love to see us fail”, Syd repeats, wanting to prove to herself and everyone else that she is worth the love she desires. The pain pushes through later on ‘BMHWDY’, in the sad logistical practicalities of separation: “Keys to your apartment / Got my clothes all in your closet / Just came to exchange our belongings / And our love’s so broken-hearted.”
Break-up albums are, of course, tried and tested affairs, but with Broken Hearts Club, Syd’s own journey is one so earnest and relatable, we find ourselves comrades in her own catharsis.
Syd – ‘Out Loud’ (feat. Kehlani)
Where last time they teamed up with Disclosure for the garage-infused ‘Birthday’, Syd enlists the ever-phenomenal Kehlani for another chilled out cut with ‘Out Loud’. Smooth as they come, the slow jam offers raw emotion on a platter with the pair deflecting back and forth and begging for communication.
Chlöe – ‘Treat Me’
Back with her first solo single since last year’s stratospheric drop, ‘Have Mercy’, Chlöe’s new outing ‘Treat Me’ is a further statement of intent for the artist she is becoming. Starting out as one half of sister duo Chlöe x Halle, the track is taken from her as-of-yet unannounced album and channels noughties R&B with chunky beats,slinky production and a powerful pop hook.
Wallice – ‘90s American Superstar’
Dropping with the announcement of her new EP of the same name, Dirty Hit wunderkind Wallice returns with ‘90s American Superstar’. Hot on the heels of ‘Little League’, the track is a deftly executed, rattle-stop whizz through peppy American indie rock. Twinned to earlier outing ‘Hey, Michael’ and set to a fictional narrative, ‘90s American Superstar’ has Wallice quipping the dramatic, musician-type behaviour of her partner.
Pabllo Vittar and Rina Sawayama – ‘Follow Me’
A match made in heaven for the lovers of Big Pop Energy, Pabllo Vittar’s recruiting of Rina Sawayama for new track ‘Follow Me’ is particularly celestial. A dancefloor-stomper to the core, the track attacks with throbbing bass notes and whiplash-inducing beats, both Pabllo and Rina’s dramatic vocals scaling new heights as they deliver an empowering call to arms for self-expression.
Cathay Jain – ‘UFO’
Dropping her first new music since the release of her 2021 debut album artificial, Cathay Jain returns with ‘UFO’. Capturing the air of a lackadaisical summer’s day, the 17-year-old artist deploys dreamy guitar tones and pattering percussion for a loosely winding sound that is truly enamouring. Topped with her whimsical tones, the track imagines the end of the world as we know it.