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By Georgia Cox

Twenty-three-year-old singer-songwriter Claire Cottrill, who performs music under the name Clairo, released her second studio album Sling in the summer of 2021, and it has already become a staple of indie-folk music since its release.

The album includes topics about growing up and the loss of time, over-sexualization, motherhood, love, heartbreak, and friendship, all while staying reminiscent of seventies folk and nineties acoustic inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Elliot Smith.

The album strays from the songs she first released back in 2017, which were more bedroom-pop indie than acoustic-folk. Still, Clairo continues to sing quietly in a raspy voice that, while beautiful, can sometimes make her music a little boring.

Sling starts with the song “Bambi’’, a song about her fear of time passing, of feeling like she’s running out of time despite her young age because of the industry she’s in.

“Rushing so I can beat the line,” she sings, expressing how fast she feels she has to work. “But what if all I want is conversation and time?”

“Bambi” is a song that reflects her loneliness and fears, accompanied by a jazzy trumpet and piano.
The standout song on Sling has to be “Blouse”. “Why do I tell you how I feel,” she sings in her signature quiet voice, “when you’re just looking down the blouse?” She feels she isn’t being heard– Instead she’s being seen as a sex symbol, something that frequently happens to almost every woman in music. “If touch can make them hear, then touch me now,” she sings. She’s willing to give in to it just to be listened to, just to be validated.

“It’s funny now, I’m just useless and whore,” she sings. Clairo represents all of the young women who have been hardened and bittered by harsh, abusive men who sexualize them.

The album ends with “Management”, a song about her views on the industry and the way that critics perceive her. “She’s only twenty-two,” she says, reflecting on the kinds of things critics say about her music when they don’t take her and her work seriously.

While Sling may not be the most original album stylistically, it tells the story of women in the music industry, mixing acoustic guitar with piano and trumpet, giving it a jazz feel.

It feels very personal, almost like reading Clairo’s diary while she plays guitar. The album is a mix of melancholy, joy, and anger. It perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being a young woman.
Most of the songs on the album are slow, music that you would listen to when studying. Critics use this fact to claim her music is boring and soporific.

Sling, however, is quite the opposite. It is peaceful and calming. The lyrics and music combined are very interesting and profound.

I absolutely recommend this album with four out of five stars.

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