Soccer Mommy’s Clean has jumped to the forefront of those fighting for my favorite album of the year. Sophie Allison’s soft melodies of self-referential emo could have been on alt-radio anytime from when Monica Lewinsky topped headlines to rap’s takeover of the mainstream to this very moment.
The signer-songwriter just left her teens, and at 20-years-old, she has written an album that captures the realization that the misgivings of adulthood are those of adolescence. We never grow out of the pains of our youth; we just get credit cards. Through the songs she remains modest while exploring infidelity, finding love, and confronting her insecurities.
Sonically, Allison embraces the low-fi, gentleness that has taken over the indie landscape. On the opening track “Still Clean” we suddenly and inexplicitly hear the demo recording spliced into it. The muffled recording is near the end and pulls the listener in by the collar as if to say, “You don’t know what you’re getting into.”
The song I am most familiar with is “Cool” – I put it on my ongoing 2018 Spotify playlist when it was released ahead of the album. It’s a poppy ode to trying to be cool and encapsulated just how cool the entire album is. She’ll shift from quiet acoustic songs to full band recordings complete with fuzzy guitars and booming bass. Like on “Your Dog” – suddenly she’s angry. Her confidence oozes out as she sings at someone. Who exactly? You’re not sure, but you know you don’t want to be that someone.
Clean stands out because of how little gimmick there is. Previously, everyone has to try to stick out. Soccer Mommy just does what she wants. She’ll fit in with favorites ranging from Julien Baker’s soft realness to Waxahatchee’s jangly loudness.