Why Sasha Alex Sloan Is One of the Most Compelling Pop Writers of Our Time
On her sophomore LP, I Blame The World, Sasha Alex Sloan proves again that she’s a remarkably gifted storyteller who infuses her melancholic writing with a healthy dose of cynicism to make sense of life’s big emotions. “I’m a glass-half-empty type of girl,” she sings on the LP’s title track. It’s a clever wordplay that sums up the album perfectly.
Sloan’s lyrics, delivery, and bittersweet songwriting have always hit a nerve with me. Her storytelling resonates deeply, which is proof of her innate songwriting talent. When she released “Smiling When I Die,” it felt like she had written that song just for me. Sloan and I are entirely different people, but she’s able to convey the grief, anxiety, and disappointment we all feel at times with a universally understood nuance.
I Blame The World is Sloan’s follow-up to her 2020 critically praised debut, Only Child. The singer/songwriter picks up exactly where she left off, embracing the apathy of the world around her fueled by feelings of isolation and uncertainty of the past two years. Sloan poignantly describes the new album as an “honest, non-hopeful” collection of work. I partly agree because she may be serving up more hope than she intended.
One of the album’s high points is the title track, “I Blame The World,” which feels like the ultimate sad person anthem with its peppy indie-rock leanings. Sloan tackles her pessimism head-on by asking the existential questions we all have on our minds once in a while. “Why say "hi” if I gotta say “bye” somеday? Why get close if I know my heart could break?““
Sloan’s streak of nihilism continues on "WTF,” in which the singer attempts to find purpose. “Sometimes, I got a hard time seein’ the good in the chaos,” she sings. “If therе’s a meanin’ to my life, then why thе hell am I so lost? Sometimes, I got a hard time believin’ dreams are worth chasin’. When there’s a ninety-nine percent chance that I probably won’t make it.” It’s the simplicity and honesty of her lyrics that really cut through.
Her gloomy lyrics are offset by a crisp production courtesy of long-time collaborator King Henry and Mike Elizondo.
Sloan tapped none other than Stuart Price to co-produce “Adult.” Paced by a galloping beat and deceivingly bright instrumentation, Sloan tales her quarterly-life crises with tongue-in-cheek lyrics like, “I used to think by now I’d be a mom. Just turned twenty-six and I can barely feed my dog.”
Sloan’s lyrical brilliance is on full display on tracks like “New Normal,” “Live Love Laugh,” and “Global Warming.” The latter is seemingly a song about the impending death of our planet; Sloan flips it around and redefines it as the love she feels for the person she’s with. “Your love makes me forget bad things exist,” she sings in the chorus.
The eleven-track album concludes with “Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done,” a gorgeous mid-tempo ballad that leans folky, which is the perfect sentiment for the song’s story about the one breaking up a relationship.
I Blame The World demonstrates why Sloan is one of the most compelling pop writers of our time. Her perspective truly stands apart from everyone else in the pop pack. Sloan has called the album “non-hopeful,” but she provides more hope than she could ever have imagined by crafting a collection of songs that make you feel understood and a little less alone. And for that, we salute her.