Plenty of musicians change their music from album to album to fit in with the industry standards and what they think will be popular with each new album. In Sometimes, Forever, Nashville-based Soccer Mommy’s third studio album, it’s kind of safe to say that she did the opposite.
Soccer Mommy, the stage name for 25-year-old Sophie Allison, released her third album today, and it’s full of gothic imagery, industrial influences, and lyrics about hating the music industry and the attempt to keep up with what’s on trend.
Much of Soccer Mommy’s earlier work solely relies on an acoustic guitar, and while she branched out to a fuller band and more experimentation in different sounds on 2020’s color theory, Allison, while not straying from any of her former work, is drawing on a broader range of musical influences on Sometimes, Forever.
This could be the influence of new producer Daniel Lopatin, also known as Oneohtrix Point Never. Lopatin is known for his work in electronic music, and most recently as The Weeknd’s producer for his two most recent albums. At first, that couldn’t seem like an odder pairing: a beloved indie pop, acoustic songstress and an experimental electronic producer who regularly works with a former Super Bowl Halftime headliner.
And who’s to say if the pairing ever speaks to Soccer Mommy’s ambition—I don’t think she seems like she wants to be the biggest pop star in the world—but maybe it’s inevitable that bigger and bigger stardom comes her way if you take a look at the direction that pop music is heading, especially after Taylor Swift’s 2020 album folklore.
Soccer Mommy fans won’t be lost on this album: all of the familiar marks of the band’s former work are there, but it’s more adventurous this time around, and it really works.
This break from formula is most evident in “Unholy Affliction,” the second single released from Sometimes, Forever. The track, a complete departure in sound in that it sounds like it could be a Nine Inch Nails song at times, sees Allison grappling with the idea of fame: something that most artists touch on once they hit a certain level of it. “I don’t want the money, the fake kind of happy, I’d sink in the river before I let it have me,” Allison sings in the opening of the song, setting the stage for her to confront her emotions about the idea of letting fame change her.
“Darkness Forever” follows the same vein as “Unholy Affliction” in that its influences are very much industrial rock and maybe even ’80s metal, as it’s a combination of the Soccer Mommy that fans know and love, with hard rock and mysterious keyboards that make the song sound like it would be at home on a horror movie soundtrack. I guess in that case it’s aptly named. The second track on the album, “With U,” is a synth-heavy, dreamy, shoegaze-y love ballad that demonstrates to listeners that they’re in for something new on this album.
On an album that’s the band’s biggest departure from its well-known sound, naming a song “newdemo” would make listeners think that it’s going to be one of Soccer Mommy’s more experimental songs, but the band captures its essence perfectly throughout the song.
Like any good album, the music also ventures into heartbreak and anger, especially in opening track “Bones,” in which Allison laments “I wanna know what’s wrong with all of the ways I am, I’m trying to be someone that you could love and understand, but I know that I’m not.”
Sometimes, Forever sees Soccer Mommy branching out from the familiar in experimental, haunting stylistic choices. It’s up in the air to where Soccer Mommy veers musically after this release. That seems like something she’s excited for, and fans should be too.
After touring Europe throughout the summer, Soccer Mommy will be embarking on a U.S. tour later this year to support Sometimes, Forever. The tour kicks off Oct. 28 in Indianapolis, Indiana and finishes up Dec. 17 in Dallas, Texas, spanning most of the country in between.
Sometimes, Forever is out now.