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Faye Webster - I Know I’m Funny haha Music Album Reviews

Faye Webster - I Know I’m Funny haha Music Album Reviews
There is so much depth to Faye Webster’s dazzling fourth album. It strikes a perfect balance between classic country stoicism and the sound of the saddest person you follow on social media.

Iwas listening to Faye Webster speak from her home in Atlanta on the “How Long Gone” podcast about how she used to be something of a youth tennis star, how she doesn’t smoke weed but loves canned gin cocktails, how she practices yo-yo tricks while listening to EDM from a video game soundtrack. It was frothy and off-the-cuff, sketching a portrait of a down-home 23-year-old singer-songwriter whose rise to indie notoriety was boosted when her song “Better Distractions” landed on Barack Obama’s annual year-end playlist. (She sounded more concerned about a shipment of Pokémon cards that needed to arrive before she went on tour.) And then, during the interview, she would occasionally say, “I’m crying.” She’d say it when something was funny, the same way people type “I’m crying” when something is funny. But Webster said it dryly, with a kind of clinical detachment. She was neither laughing nor crying.

This really captures the way Webster approaches her songwriting. Laughter and tears, boredom and loneliness, scummy landlords and Linkin Park, they all have the same density in her songs. Every moment on her fourth album, I Know I’m Funny haha, floats by at the same meaningless speed, the air so thick and humid that lines don’t land, they just slowly disappear. In the world of Webster’s lolling indie country and twangy R&B, comedy and tragedy are indistinguishable. Saying “I’m crying” out loud could scan as a wry adoption of online argot, winking at a feeling but a little afraid of it, how if you text a friend something really honest you might take out a little “haha” as an insurance policy.

But because Webster is such a wise and interesting lyricist, and because she peppers her songs with five-word phrases that could plot an entire novel, there’s so much more to I Know I’m Funny haha than its wan title might suggest. Scenes and feelings are rendered so simply and matter-of-factly that sometimes it’s like Webster is singing back the minutes of a meeting. Good days bleed into bad and back into good—she’s crying in a good way, she’s laughing because she’s just been hurt, and honestly who can tell the difference anymore? With Webster’s downy voice and a pedal-steel player named Matt “Pistol” Stoessel who almost steals the show, the album strikes a perfect balance between classic country stoicism and the sound of the saddest person you follow on social media.

All of the same pieces were in place on 2019’s Atlanta Millionaires Club, an album as glacially paced and melancholy as this. But there’s a brighter twinkle to the songs, a looser grip on where they go and how they work, more space for the band and the orchestration. “In a Good Way” takes a minute-and-a-half walk in the middle just to simmer in a ’90s nu-soul groove; the title track doesn’t even have a chorus; “Kind Of” ends on a three-minute vamp with the precise vibe of a Key West bar band playing a bossa nova tune at sunset. Webster nods to fellow Atlantan Rich Homie Quan, singing on the chorus about feeling some type of way, but, again, taking out a little “kind of” as insurance. It’s a song that’s speechless, trepidatious, almost incredulous about falling in love, and still it stretches out as if she never wants whatever feeling this is to end.

Webster is an assassin who comes out of the shadows with something witheringly funny or totally devastating. And because this album comes pre-packaged with a hammock and warm breeze, it’s hard to do anything but smile when she delivers the blow. On the title track, Webster talks to her partner about his pretty sister in that loving but condescending way couples talk about each other’s siblings. “I made her laugh one time at dinner,” she sings. “She said I’m funny and then I thanked her/But I know I’m funny haha.” You see the whole spectrum of her personality in that one line—polite, sensitive, arrogant, actually funny—especially in the staccato way she sings “haha.” She elevates a forgettable phrase we all type all of the time into a moment that defines her character as a songwriter.

There is, in fact, a great deal of crying on the record. There is one good cry (“In a Good Way”) but for the most part, it’s rough. She cries so much it hurts, asks herself if she’ll stop crying for once, cries for no reason, thinks that she might just sit around and cry. None of those lines are sad in and of themselves, but they create the vulnerable atmosphere for Webster to detail the absurd magnitude of her sadness: “There’s a difference between lonely and lonesome/But I’m both all the time,” she sings, ever the grammarian. But Webster’s great gift as a young saint of the bummer jam is how she captures emptiness. She absolutely owns the void that swallows all feeling, that nothingness through which all emotion must travel. One line from “A Stranger” says it all: “You know, I used to love getting bored/But now, without you, I have so much time to think there’s nothing to think about anymore.”

Yet the record never sinks into a dirge or sounds anemic. It is full and stoned and beautiful the entire time. The mood reminds me of smoky old Billie Holiday tunes, or the sunny stroll of a João Gilberto record, or the twilight magic of classic pedal-steel-driven songs like “Harvest Moon” or “Sleep Walk.” The band does a remarkable job of giving subtle little flourishes just a second or two to shine. The way Webster trills between two notes on the chorus of “Sometimes” and the strings follow her in unison; the way the piano ascends and the pedal steel descends at the end of “Better Distractions”; the way Webster drops the line, “There’s so much going on/My grandmother’s dead” in “A Dream With a Baseball Player,” a song about a teenage crush on Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. I Know I’m Funny haha is full of this delicious texture. It might come off a little shallow, but it reveals its great depth at its own unconcerned pace. It’s probably one of the best records of the year lol.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Faye Webster - I Know I’m Funny haha Music Album Reviews Faye Webster - I Know I’m Funny haha Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, July 02, 2021 Rating: 5

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