UK artist Ámaris nails the complexities that come with quarter midlife crisis as part of the Peter Pan Generation (aka Millennials) in her album 26. Like its title, the record is a sketch of the highs and lows that we experience as we navigate through adulthood without being able to completely shed out youthful hope.
The gal opens up with “Jelly” where she taps into love in its rawest form. “We’ll be dancing until our legs are jelly” chants Ámaris with stomp-and-fingersnap rhythms that yield a starry air. Ámaris continues building up the desire for someone but in a more visceral way in her next track “Sunburn,” which serves as a confessional metaphor. In “I Need You,” Ámaris taps into the more vulnerable side of romance where she breaks down our dependence on emotional reciprocity.
But 26 does not only live in the clouds – there are far more songs that deal with the unmet expectations and hardships we face when we reach our mid 20s. In “Numb” and “Snow Flake,” the gal taps into relationships that have gone stale through sprinkling keys and meditative vibrato that transmits an inescapable melancholia. Similarly, “The Storm” is an ominous pop piece where its building intensity resonate the emotional tension of a doomed couple.
Beyond romantic disillusion, Ámaris taps into a more generic form in “Diamond” where through finger-plucked chords and crystal-cutting vocals she exudes the loss of attachment for something. It’s a song that delineates the transition we experience in our connections, values, and dreams that often become meaningless as we change.
As an artist, Ámaris has also had her fair share of creative blocks and self-realization moments. In “Last Day In The World,” Ámaris takes on a more auto-tuned pop trajectory where she lets her lush vocals pay homage to her own creative energy. But she knows that any creative endeavor requires a large amount of patience and does not happen overnight as people think. “Long Way (Disillusioned)” is a slow-burning soulful pop piece that reverberates the voice inside her head that keeps showering her with new ideas and the time it takes to get them across. But she is not always lost in her own romantic and disillusioning thoughts – Ámaris emphasizes the value of practicing gratitude to stay grounded in her single “Thankful” where, through smoky croons, she lures us into a stretchy soundscape.
But the highlight of the album comes in the form of the last two track: “Blurred” and “Supernova.” In “Blurred,” Ámaris uses fragmented beats and subtly hazy vocals that remind us of the mental cloudiness social media can cause. In “Supernova,” the gal taps into disillusionment again but rather than ending it on a sour note, she does so with the self-empowering realization that whoever you’ve been disappointed with isn’t worth the emotional baggage. It’s the most upbeat track of the record where the gal takes you in a cosmic journey built on exhilarating hooks and lops that are smeared with DGAF attitude.
26 is a record for the Boomerang Generation that addresses all the symptoms of quarter midlife crisis induced by our own expectations and the reality’s response to them. Whether the disenchantment of adulthood derives from our own experience with intimacy, work, or even sense of self, 26 offers a narrative that makes us feel less isolated.