Singer-songwriter Sasha Sloan has released her debut album titled Only Child. With a focus on songwriting, Sasha explores unique perspectives and specific situations that magically feel universal. Sloan has written for big pop acts like Camila Cabello and released three EPs prior to Only Child, but this album feels like a definite introduction into her world.
The album starts with “Matter To You,” a song about feeling small in the world but feeling important with that one special person. It’s a delicate guitar confession that sets the tone for the themes of the album: honesty, vulnerability and the way we’re all intertwined.
The title track, “Only Child,” is Sasha daydreaming about what it would be like to have siblings. Though it sounds like this song would only be relatable to only children, it’s also sentimental for those who do have siblings because it touches on how special it is to have a “built-in best friend.” It’s cheesy in all the right ways and continues the sonic theme as a soft, piano ballad.
As you’re wiping your tears from the title track, “House With No Mirrors” brings them right back. In this song, Sasha gets super vulnerable and talks about something most women (and most people, in general) can, unfortunately, relate to in some way: body issues. The lyrics fantasize about how different life would be if we didn’t have to think about our appearance. It touches on every single aspect, not just body confidence. From lyrics like, “I’d be cooler, I’d be smarter // Probably be a better daughter,” to “I’d have sex with all the lights on // And I wouldn’t pull away from his touch,” this song is bound to feel relatable in some way.
“Lie” picks up the pace a bit and is the first track on the album that isn’t ballad-based. It’s a groovy, pop anthem about not wanting something to end so badly that you ignore the truth. “Hypochondriac” is a unique, romantic take on health and well-being. Sloan sings about neglecting her health in the past but focusing on it now that she’s in love and has something to live for. It’s a bit concerning, but romantic and honest nonetheless.
In “Is It Just Me?” is a track full of hot-takes and confessions. Sonically, it’s similar to most of the previous tracks. Sasha’s soft vocals juxtapose the lyrical content, making it an interesting listen. It’s also cheeky at moments, in the pre-chorus she sings, “Am I just high // Or am I kinda right?”
Although there have been dark elements throughout the album, “Santa’s Real” feels more serious than the previous tracks (especially coming after “Is It Just Me?”). Sonically, it’s also the most somber track, with only the chorus picking up a bit. Here, Sloan sings about learning about divorce as a child, poverty, sickness and climate change. It’s an ode to the naivety and blissful ignorance of childhood and wanting to “live in a world where Santa’s real.”
“Someone You Hate” brings the pace back up, but not the mood. It’s not too different sonically, but it’s upbeat like “Lie.” It’s a track about breaking someone’s heart and feeling guilty, although it seems like she acknowledges that she had to. It’s super relatable, but not as unique as the lyrical content of the other tracks. The gloomy mood continues in “Until It Happens To You,” a track about the difference between empathizing and experiencing a terrible situation. The use of guitar and piano in this track is beautiful, as well as the way it picks up in the last minute or so.
To close out the album, Sloan talks to her younger self in “High School Me.” It definitely brings the mood up a bit after a run of sad songs. It’s the most hopeful song on the album, as well. It feels like an updated version of “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift, especially with lyrics like “I won’t say it all gets better // But 15 doesn’t last forever.” After talking about body issues, the harshness of growing up and other serious subjects, it feels appropriate for this track to acknowledge and celebrate personal growth. Ending this album with a sentiment like, “If high school me could see me now // I bet high school me would be so proud,” was a great choice.
Overall, Only Child touched on some interesting and unexplored topics. There’s not much variety when it comes to production and sound, but the lyrics make up for that. It’s definitely an album for people who like connecting with lyrical content. It’s also rare that love was only one of the topics explored and doesn’t seem to be the main focus of the album. For a debut album, Only Child definitely displays Sasha Sloan’s personality, beliefs and sound in a distinct way.
Featured Image: RCA Records