BY CLAIRE LANTHIER//
Welcome back to No-Skip Saturday, the weekly column where I recommend an album I think can be listened to all-the-way-through, no skips necessary. Today’s album is perfect for the type of dreary weather we’re facing in DC right now, or any time of life where you’re feeling emotionally dreary or emotionally tired, a mindset I find a lot of people feeling right now in the midst of another round of remote learning midterms: Florist’s If Blue Could Be Happiness.
The ten-track album released in 2017 is only 35 minutes long, but the album portrays the songwriter and lead singer Emily Sprague’s emotions and life experiences beautifully and poignantly, using simple, sometimes even fragile, musical lines and direct, powerful lyrics. The opening track on the album, “Blue Mountain Road” features lines I find especially relatable during pandemic times, or any time of isolation and change, Sprague singing “If you’re terrified of living like me, I hope you’ll be fine / Cause we’re terrified together in this terrifying time”. This is the type of track that uses simplicity to bring out the listener’s emotions; this is an album that never fails to make me cry.
My favorite track on the record is “Eyes in the Sun,” a love song that truly comes from the heart and hits the listener there as well. Sprague uses a direct form of lyricism here as well, with the second line saying “Do you want to join the road of my life?” To me, this song depicts loving someone for the first time in a long time, and Sprague’s soft melodic voice is perfect for depicting this unique and heart-touching feeling we’ve all experienced at least once in our lives.
The other favorite in the album is the final track, “Red Bird,” especially emotional to me because it starts off discussing Sprague being the only daughter of their mother. The guitar works beautifully in this track alongside round synth notes and Sprague’s soft and melodic voice. The version used on the record is the one Sprague recorded and played for her own mother the day before her death. I didn’t know that until looking up the story and meaning behind the tracks today, but regardless the song expresses something you know is deeply emotive and powerful, a mother’s relationship with her daughter. This is another track on the album that makes me cry whenever I listen; Sprague singing “We both feel so much, I know it from the years I’ve watched you live / But the sunrise always came”. In an interview with Pitchfork the singer said that one of the last things her mother said to her was how this song perfectly described their relationship. The vulnerability to include this demo on the album is equally powerful and beautiful.
This song, like the rest of the album, to me is one that I can hold onto during tough times, times of isolation or loneliness. The record reminds us of the beauty in front of us: of birds, of someone we love’s eyes, the shadow of clouds on the grass in summer; Sprague uses references to nature in nearly every track on the album, referring to birds, creeks, and grass. The record is mindful and meditative, and you will finish it feeling simultaneously more sad and more comforted than when you started. This record is the perfect one for a rainy day like today — and is linked here if you want to listen.