Shannon and Leah review FLETCHER’s debut album.
As an emerging voice in pop, Cari Elise Fletcher made her first attempt at fame in the 2011 season of The X-Factor where she was quickly eliminated. 11 years later, following a string of EPs and a cancelled Niall Horan tour, Fletcher has finally released her debut album Girl Of My Dreams, and will be supporting Panic! At the Disco at their upcoming Viva Las Vengeance tour.
Fletcher opens the album with Sting, a return to past relationships and sounds as she reintroduces listeners to her love life with vocal echoes and aggressive choral strings. Emulating earlier songs, Sting is an uncaptivating continuation of (S)ex-tapes, Fletcher’s third extended play, both in sound and infatuation with Fletcher’s ex-girlfriend Shannon Beveridge. They have since found a new love in Becky; the main character in the single Becky’s so hot. Stuck in love, she romanticises the “sting” as “all I got left of you and me.” Whereas Sting is naive and premature, Becky’s so hot succeeds in surfacing Fletcher’s jealousy through an angry bass and guitar, as well as violent desires, both physical (“I kinda wanna hit her when I see her”) and sexual (“But I wanna know how she tastes”).
Progressing from romantic relationships to introspection, Conversations stands out with its attractive rhythm and rock sound, also emphasising Fletcher’s Sia-like vocals. Maintaining catchy dancy beats, Fletcher builds with Serial Heartbreaker, the album’s third single, examining her own commitment issues (“I get what I want, I keep it for a minute, then I let it go”) and simultaneous sensitivity to break-ups. Culminating in Her Body is Bible, queerness and heaven are balanced together in a happy pop beat, centering the female body as the object of Fletcher’s desires.
Turning the tables, Girl Of My Dreams, the titular single, departs from earlier melancholy as a self-loving anthem with soprano reminiscent of Marina Diamandis. Rather than stagnate musically in the aftermath of heartbreak, Fletcher is the girl of her own dreams (“I got a new rebound, I’m fallin’ for me now”), becoming the focal point of the remaining songs. Concluding with a letter to self, I Love You, Bitch, and self-titled For Cari, Fletcher goes back to basics, tugging at the heartstrings with a more acoustic sound.
Fletcher’s debut album journeys from post-love to self-love, making herself the heart of the album. While it contains a batch of respectable bops to add to your pop playlist, Girl Of My Dreams is highly processed and offers no evergreens and little uniqueness, foregoing the innocent teen charm of her earlier EPs, as well as the character of her magnum opus Last Laugh.
Overall rating: 7/10
A relatable mix of heartbreak and learning to love yourself, the new album Girl of My Dreams by pop star FLETCHER, captures what it’s like to choose to better a relationship with yourself in the midst of heartbreak.
FLETCHER’s music is a more explicit, edgier, and gay version of music like Tate McRae’s, with the lyrics being simple in nature but still having the ability to hit you the way they need to (like a million bricks in the case of heartbreak).
The album starts out with the song Sting, which I still don’t know if I should add to my pump-up playlist or my heartbreak one. The tracklist moves through the feeling of heartbreak in the first half, and the journey of committing to self-love in the second half, ending with the track For Cari, the epitome of a self-love song about choosing yourself.
The song Becky’s So Hot was a single from the album that garnered a lot of attention with FLETCHER’s name drop of her ex’s new girlfriend. It brought some chaotic energy but is one that I can’t help but sing along to.
The minute-and-a-half interlude song, I Think I’m Growing, is one that all university students in the Covid-19 years can relate to. Having not been able to travel, see friends or do things that we are “supposed to be doing” in our university years, and as someone who is close to graduating with no solid plans as to what I want to do with life, the lyrics “I don’t know where I’m going, but I think I’m growing” really hit home.
What I personally appreciate about this album is that so many of the songs are about healing about queer heartbreak. We still don’t have enough representation of queer love in music, and this album goes some way to address the shortfall.
Overall rating: 8/10