Sophia Allison has been baring her soul to teenagers on the internet since she herself was a teen. With all of that experience, she’s only getting better at using her solo project, Soccer Mommy, to turn her struggles with depression into beautiful pieces of music. “Color Theory,” her newest album, is emblematic of Allison’s maturation into a leading figure in indie pop.
The lyrics on “Color Theory” are so stark and honest it’s shocking. She turns these feelings of depression, suicidal ideation and self harm, into these extremely relatable songs.
“Writing is like bleeding — it’s something that just comes out,” said Allison in an interview with Pitchfork.
While that seems like a dark simile, it makes a lot of sense when you look at her writing. She doesn’t seem too concerned with privacy or restricting what she says and that’s what makes these songs so powerful.
The lyrics on “Color Theory” are more abstract than previous works and the imagery is remarkably vivid. On “Bloodstream,” Allison creates this cinematic vision that veers between her happiness as a child and the depression she’s struggled with in more recent years.
On the song “Royal Screw Up,” she cycles through a range of emotions. In her conversation with Pitchfork, she said that she wrote the song in 20 minutes. It’s a self-deprecating rant reminiscent of an intake therapy session, but it perfectly captures her songwriting chops.
A huge part of Soccer Mommy has always been the creative production and the effects that Allison infuses into the songs. On “Color Theory,” that production is still there, but it’s less at the forefront. Just below the surface of these songs you’ll find tape loops, found sounds and floppy disk samples. Making these effects a little more subtle than on past works allows the songs to shine on their own, while still helping to create a sense of place.
In comparison to Soccer Mommy’s breakthrough album “Clean,” “Color Theory” feels like a bulkier album. The new songs are more full and the melodies are a little less stark and simplistic. There’s pros and cons to both. On “Clean,” the bare melodies allowed listeners to immediately grasp on to the songs. They’re a little catchier and more interesting to the ear. On “Color Theory,” you have to work to get to the core of the songs.
The indie pop scene is crowded as of late, but Allison has created a unique place for herself. She’s used her knack for imagery, swirling guitar riffs and storytelling to make an album that appeals not only to depressed youth, but also to their parents. At only 22 years old, but at the same time so far into her career, the future seems full of potential for Soccer Mommy.