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“Bright Future” Review

Adrianne Lenker’s first solo album in four years retains the sadness and catchiness of her past work while pushing her stripped-back style forwards

Adrianne Lenker is one of the best songwriters of the last decade. Her ability to paint pictures of familial trauma and love comes through strongly in not only her work as the lead vocalist and guitarist of indie-folk band Big Thief but also in her solo work which we haven’t seen any of since 2020. Lenker’s seventh album and latest work, “Bright Future,” feels like a mixture of the stripped-back feel of her last solo project, “Songs,” and the slightly catchier feel of the most recent Big Thief project, “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You.”

“Fool,” the third song on the album and third released single, features incredibly plucky strings that work incredibly well with Lenker’s voice. Most of her lyrical content on this song is recapping what her friends and family have been doing in their personal lives and a relationship she’s in that she can’t seem to figure out. She keeps trying to guess what her partner wants, eventually giving up and just asking them to “just say what it is that [they] want.”

Later on the album is the song “Vampire Empire” which, if you’re a fan of Big Thief (or use TikTok), you’ll recognize as a cover of a song by the same name that the group dropped in July of last year. Lenker’s solo cover is a lot rougher by comparison but that also makes it feel more raw. The instrumentation has been changed up pretty drastically with this version now utilizing an acoustic guitar, violin and a twinkling piano that wasn’t there in the original version.

One of the last songs on the album, “Donut Seam,” features subtle backing vocals from Nick Hakim. Beautifully simple instrumentation pairs perfectly with the lyrical content which focuses mainly on how you should enjoy the things you have before they’re gone. Nothing shows this better than the chorus when Lenker sings “Don’t it seem like a good time for swimming before all the water disappears?”

“Bright Future” is a beautiful display of emotional vulnerability which may not be exactly brand new for Adrianne Lenker but is still executed with a level of finesse that only she is capable of.

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About the Contributor
Jake Williams
Jake Williams, Journalist
Jake Williams is a junior at Pioneer and Community High School and this is his first year on staff. When not at school Jake spends his time playing video games with his friends, building sets for PTG, coaching flag football at WideWorld Sports Center, and listening to an unhealthy amount of music. Jake is looking forward to talking about and reviewing music in his first year on the staff of The Communicator.

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