Underdressed at the Symphony (signed insert)
‘Faye Blue’ coloured vinyl with signed insert
Faye Webster’s songs are direct lines to the human subconscious, and ‘Underdressed at the Symphony’ documents what happens once you begin to build a new self from the ashes of your old routines. This rebirth isn’t flashy or definitive but is instead a series of seemingly mundane moments that, scattered across weeks and months, sneak their way toward something like healing. Yes, there’s a breakup in play, but Webster is not documenting the heartbreak of a breakup so much as she’s navigating the contours of heartbreak itself. Recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas with her longtime band, Webster is accompanied on ‘Underdressed at the Symphony’ by Matt Stoessel’s arcs of shimmering pedal steel, the plaintive, unhurried drums of Charles Garner and, occasionally, additional guitarwork from Wilco’s Nels Cline, among many other crucial players.
The title of the album refers to Webster’s post-breakup compulsion to visit the symphony on a whim, usually buying a ticket at the last possible second. “Going to the symphony was almost like therapy for me. I was quite literally underdressed at the symphony because I would just decide at that moment that that’s what I wanted to do,” she says. “That’s what I felt like I needed to hear. I got to leave what I felt like was kind of a shitty time in my life and be in this different world for a minute.”
That strain of light-heartedness with a melancholic backbone permeates the album, and is the major driving force behind ‘Lego Ring’, which features Atlanta multi-hyphenate Lil Yachty, the only guest voice on the entire album. Yachty’s ghostly warble floats just under Webster’s voice, jabbing through empty space, trembling over a low rumble of bass. The song is also a sort of release - a buoyant moment that cuts through the sadness. “I think I hit a point in songwriting during this record where I was just like, man, I said a lot.” Webster says. “I'm just going to sit down and sing about this ring that I really want.”
Like the rest of the album, Webster isn’t providing answers, nor is she on some epic journey of healing and self-care. Instead, she’s choosing to just live, to document heartbreak and ridiculous moments right next to each other, until they start to blur together, becoming real enough for us all to feel.
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