Credit: Arlo Parks

Albums of the Year 2021: Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams

By Collaborative

Bringing to life the emotional turbulence of 2021 like no other album, Arlo Park’s sensational full-length debut is our next Album of the Year.

Described by Parks as “both universal and hyper-specific”, Collapsed in Sunbeams’ fluctuations between ethereal bliss and relatable vulnerability are just one factor in the album’s critical celebration. A gorgeous set of sonic vignettes, each track explores a different nuance of Parks’ personality to culminate in a seminal work of art wholly deserving of the acclaim lauded on it over the past year.

Olivia Marrins, Writer: It was not until I saw Collapsed in Sunbeams colourfully illustrated on stage that I could fully appreciate Arlo Park’s personal compilation of her work in it’s true, poetic form. Unlike any other musical listening experience to which I have exposed myself to, the arrangement of the album provides a welcoming encompassment of sound through endearing reflections of the artist.

The titular opening track offers an invitation to the warm and affectionate nature to which the album follows in Park’s self-reflection. Arlo Park’s artistry follows her love for poetry in the soft delicacy of her song writing; in tracks like Cola or Black Dog the awkwardness and vulnerability of each relationship allows each song to be even more intimate. Whilst the album provides a dreamy, relaxed sonic experience, the lyrics influence a moment of reflection in listening through struggles with emotion, acceptance, and love. More so, the cheerful monotony of the bass and snare can be heard throughout the album; creating a momentum of the everchanging journey to which we travel through life.

“In tracks like Cola or Black Dog the awkwardness and vulnerability of each relationship allows each song to be even more intimate…”

I kept this album in my pocket for most of 2021, yet it is the perfect listen going into a New Year as it provides an escapism and comfort to the struggles of the past year. It was the track Caroline which affiliated my love for this album, the narrative tone of the vocals contrasted with the poignant lyrics of the chorus created a strikingly warm burst to which we see love. It is the ideal depiction of the artist’s determination of storytelling in the album. Arlo Park’s inclusion of her personal relationships through the album emulates the nature of the sun splitting the sky; just as we listen and move, we become aware of the impact one person’s light can provide in the darker moments.

Luke Chafer, News Editor: A ray of sunshine in what for many was a dark year, Arlo Park’s Collapsed in Sunbeams was undoubtedly the album of the year for me in 2021. A blend of laidback melodies, soft soulful vocals and her characteristic storytelling lyricism capturing the burdens faced by our generation. Setting the tone with spoken word in the opening track – also the title track – to the bop that is Eugene, Parks doesn’t put a foot wrong. This album was probably my soundtrack of lockdown three back in January, but since then its introspective lyrics have made me feel like the main character on numerous occasions. I think that’s what truly amazes me about this album is its completeness; from start to finish it’s a journey not just hashed together a collection of songs she had already released, an all too common trend in albums I eagerly anticipated last year.  Although I love this album, this is definitely one my flatmates have probably had enough of.


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