By: Michael Kevin |
Claire Cottrill, also known as Clairo, made a scene on YouTube with her bubbly, simple lo-fi pop track “Pretty Girl” back in 2017. The video clip of the then 19-year artist went viral, with fans liking Clairo for her authentic, yet humble production and unpretentious looks as a “DIY” artist. She then released her first EP titled “diary 001”, with tracks such as “4ever” and “Hello?”, her collaboration with rapper, Rejjie Snow, which also included some of her past notable singles such as “Flaming Hot Cheetos” and “Pretty Girl”. Her EP had clearly shown promise for Clairo, although there was a debate among music listeners, in which Clairo was considered as an “industry plant” for her musical backings and connections from her father, who is a marketing executive who worked for several large companies.
The hype and promise of Clairo led to her first debut full length album, titled “Immunity”. Before the release of the album, she released some of the singles which were included later in the album, titled “Bags”, “Sofia”, and “Closer to You”. The song “Bags”, an alt-pop ballad which talks about a person being stuck in a one-sided relationship, clearly shows high expectations for the album for its dreamy sound from the guitars, synths and drums accompanying Clairo’s voice which sounds a little different than her typical soft, yet lush voice, making the track feels rather more energetic than her past materials. However, “Closer to You” didn’t have the similar edge compared to “Bags”, with a different approach to Clairo’s musical approach which fell short to its potential for the song’s lackluster production and her heavily auto-tuned voice, which eventually felt underwhelming to listen to. The song “Sofia” tells the story of how Clairo is trying to search for her sexual orientation and having women crushes on notable celebrities named Sofia such as Sofia Vergara and Sofia Coppola, as explained by Clairo herself. The track elevated Clairo’s signature lo-fi qualities, but at the same time managed to keep its simplicity and authenticity, and her modified voice didn’t fall short as the same as “Closer to You”. However, the track has some questionable aspects in which some of the instrumentals and the effects in the track felt unnecessary to be added.
In general, “Immunity” shares some similarities with artists such as indie-pop singer and songwriter, Maggie Rogers’ debut album “Heard it in the Past Life” and indie-pop duo, Wet’s second full length album “Still Run”, in which all three albums mentioned previously was produced by former Vampire Weekend member and producer, Rostam Batmanglij. There are issues with “Immunity”, in which the album has a weird pacing from track to track, where the transition and the productions between tracks felt inconsistent and all over the place at times. And as talked previously with tracks “Closer to You” and “Sofia”, there are production aspects that are unnecessary to be added, and with Clairo’s modified voice on other tracks such as “Impossible”, it loses the Clairo’s authenticity compared to her earlier materials. But on a positive note, she manages to tell her stories which tackles about certain topics, ranging from suicide, relationship issues, to her being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid athritis at the age of 17. Also, there are some valid reasons why Clairo decided to alter her voice with autotune and messing with her voice slightly on the song “Closer to You”. The tracks on this are decent enough to stand on their own as individual tracks, even some of them stands out as decent tracks such as “Bags”, White Flag”, and “North”, however to be considered as a whole album, it feels messy and sometimes bland production-wise. Overall, I’ll give Clairo the props for taking a different route on her music journey and going out of her comfort zone to become the pop superstar that people have considered her to be, and her storytelling throughout the album that has been solid in general, without forgetting that “Immunity” for me is pretty questionable as the album that will potentially propel her to pop music stardom.
Listen to Immunity here: