Updated: Jun 24, 2022
Suki Waterhouse, already having gained much success in her career as a model and actress, has just recently released her debut album, I Can’t Let Go with Sub Pop Records.
Suki has explained the title of the album, saying, “for years it felt like I was wearing heavy moments on my sleeve and it just didn’t make sense to do so anymore. There’s so much that I’ve never spoken about. Writing music has always been where it felt safe to do so. Every song for the record was a necessity. In many ways, I’ve been observing my life as an outsider—even when I’ve been on the inside. It’s like I was a visitor watching things happen”.
Even the cover art, featuring Suki, bathed in a soft glow, looking out into space with tinges of regret, confusion, and ennui, immediately tells prospective listeners that she, indeed, cannot let go - and invites us into her perspective.
As a whole, the album carries a soft, melancholy yearning throughout, touching on loneliness, heartbreak, disillusionment, and self-doubt, which is mostly a testament to the lyricism. Each track provides a vignette exploring Suki’s own emotional journey in her life and her relationships to lovers, family, success, and herself.
The music videos released for this album also play an important part in effectively communicating the emotional tones of the songs, as well as furthering the themes presented sonically and lyrically.
The video for Moves, directed by Cameron McCool has a soft, dreamlike quality to it. Throughout, it holds an extreme close up of Suki’s face, putting the audience right in her mindset. The blue lighting immediately brings a cold sadness to the song, then highlights Suki’s personal anxieties with swirling camera movements and falling shards of broken glass.
Suki herself describes this song as, “what happens when you are struck by someone who changes the course of your entire life? The song speculates on that journey, one that moves beyond lust and physical longing, where you know that you now have something to give.”
The next song on the album, Devil I Know, is accompanied by a music video that takes similar anxieties surrounding the vulnerability of love and elevates them with the use of Suki’s expressive movement. The video itself is indicative of romanticizing nostalgia. It has a low-fi videotape quality to the recording, with muted earth tones in a homey living space, introducing ideas of the struggles reverberating beneath quiet domesticity. Suki’s dancing, along with the strong, evocative lyrics, convey the seductive and intoxicating nature of giving yourself over to love. And giving yourself over to a love that you may know isn’t going to end well, but committing to vulnerability nonetheless.
Melrose Meltdown is perhaps the most Lana-Del-Rey- inspired track on the album. The music video, directed by Sofia Malamute, presents an ethereal disillusionment with Hollywood glamor. Suki is in the spotlight, wearing a frilly pink nightgown, highlighting her femininity. Lyrics like, “We really fucked it up in diamonds and drug stores. That's what we came for. And when you get it, you got what you need. Handing out gold stars for tailor-made behavior. I can see your team is shining like prizes. I'm sat out on the balcony too sad to go to the party. It's a crime loving you so”, portray Suki as someone going after the wrong things, and not finding what she truly needs. It explores the degradation of a dream, and unhealthy romanticism of things we will accept because of what we put our trust in.
Wild Side doesn’t have a full music video, but does have an official visualization video. The video and lyrics seem to hone in on a sense of loneliness and dealing with slowing down as we get older, and losing some of that excitement of youth. And perhaps trading it in for stability, and how that can be met with a lot of resistance.
Wild Side is about growing & changing & being met with insecurities that when your present with someone does not match up with their past, are they going to get bored or change their minds.
Overall, I Can’t Let Go, is a very successful summer introspection album to laze about to in the glow of a lonely, late sunset. It only falls short in that it can seem a little too monotonous or redundant at times, in want of some variety in energy level.
Suki Waterhouse will be touring the United States this summer and fall with Father John Misty, and tickets can be purchased here.
- Review by Ben Billand