Clean (Soccer Mommy, 2018)

Soccer MommyShe goes by the uncoolest of names. And she sometimes sings like she’s just woken up, still in her bed, softly strumming. Yes, but Soccer Mommy’s Clean is one of the best of the year. In fact, it’s probably my favorite record from 2018, ahead of Parquet Courts’ vibrantly “produced” (I prefer their lo-fi past) Wide Awake (as in “woke”).

Sophie Allison brings about hummable, candy coated melodies that’s both sour and sweet—like gum that colors your mouth, tongue and lips. But this isn’t just Taylor Swift pap with high school diary lyrics. Allison pours her heart out, yes, but this has teeth, blood, viscera in it, some Liz Phair there, some Sebadoh here. And I like the little surprises she brings by doing away with the usual song structures (i.e., “Still Clean” has this defective tape effects, “Cool” ends mid guitar solo).

Highlights include a song that describes “predatory” relationship in vivid details (“Still Clean”),  Allison wanting to be someone who’s “Cool”, someone who has a heart of coal, yet she don’t want to be someone’s fuckin’ dog (“Your Dog”). She also wants to be as good as her boyfriend’s ex (“Last Girl), wants to be his stoner girl. The best cuts is where she finally learns that she doesn’t need to be someone else (“Scorpio Rising”), finally learns to let go (“Wildflower”) and that, according to Christgau, good sex won’t solve everything–but good sex is good. Well, this album, too.

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