The Minneapolis based indie pop artist with noir aesthetics, speakeazie has always been masterful in her ability to convey emotion through her music. Though she only begun her journey at the close of 2021, she has already produced engaging works, winning significant critical praise along the way. Starting with her debut album “Prohibition Hippie”, released at the end of January 2022. Welcomed into the Dreampop community, speakeazie has continued to grow her brand, her fanbase, and her streaming numbers, with a series of stunning releases, including her “Bootlegger Blood” EP. Currently preparing her show for the 3rd of December, at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, she has also dropped her single “Ashtray Tears”.
The key theme here is emotional and sentimental contemplation, explored in an immersive way. This record amplifies how our minds and hearts can be shapeshifted, co-opted, possessed and afflicted. “I ain’t here for the thrill of it. I get tears when you’re feeling me. I’m so scared that I’ll ruin it. You’re worth more than I can express,” sings speakeazie, as she unpacks the narrative. “And when you’re gone. I smoke your favorite cigarettes. But it’s your heart. That rubs me away till I’m losing it.”
If you’ve ever taken speakeazie at face value, you would be greatly mistaken. Behind every one of her releases, she has always had an undercurrent of profound cerebral commentary, openly expressing her view on things.
She has also always had the ability to wrap these commentaries into some beautiful, intoxicating, sometimes melancholic music, designed to alter moods and feelings. “Ashtray Tears” is no exception in any of those respects.
Both bitter and sweet, “Ashtray Tears” chooses to linger in between gilded memory and unvarnished reality, somehow invoking both, in a song that always feels solemnly anxious, always feels mesmerizing, and rarely feels anything less than perfectly executed.
That often overused word, ‘cinematic’, comes to mind, as speakeazie builds intense imagery and an inebriating mood which draws you down the rabbit hole with her. The songwriting is so rich in atmosphere and suggestion.
With a sonic palette bathed in gently echoing guitars, haunting harmonies, and quietly throbbing percussion, speakeazie picks apart her soul, to expose the feelings inside. “Been a long time since I felt I was whole and You got me dreaming of our night things. Picking me up when I feel like I’m nothing. Giving your warmth when I feel fucking cold and. I don’t know why but I swear that I know this. I’ll be your girl. I’ll be your world. I am not frail. I want your will. Keep me on you. Take you off trail.”
The record is the perfect canvas on which to project your own feelings, and that is one of the masterful things that speakeazie does with her music. The listener is involved in the process on an emotional level.
She manages to weave moments of realness and deepness throughout the song, each bar bringing you closer to the core of her heart. The singer-songwriter’s ability to weave intense emotions into her soundscapes is masterful, and something that she has been consistently good at so far in her career.
From the lyricism, to the instrumentation and the production, “Ashtray Tears” is an insightful expression of inspired commentary on love, passion and desire, and a powerful exploration of self. A hugely impressive achievement, the track is technically exquisite, while remaining incredibly difficult to pin down. “Ashtray Tears” is a song to bathe in, and to ponder over, rather than simply enjoy.