Photo: Charlie Cummings
A universal “oneness.” A deeply-rooted connection between individuals based on nature and an innate sense of humanity. An “original relation to the universe.” These are the various descriptors that define the characteristics of the nineteenth-century philosophical movement, transcendentalism. Although seemingly dated, transcendentalism is often expressed quite casually in conversations today that surround the unification of the human experience. A perfect example of this phenomenon - outside of those oddly specific trauma-bonding tweets on Twitter - is Arlo Parks’ Sophie.
Overflowing with gloomy hues, elegant lyricism, and an overarching presence of relatable dolor, Sophie is a contemporary spin on the centuries-old philosophy. Each song on the EP takes us through our natural capabilities and personal relationships. “Second Guessing,” the intro track on the project, enraptures listeners in a sweeping sense of nostalgia that knocks us onto a floor comprised of our own perpetual self-doubt. The titular track “Sophie” explores that feeling of hopelessness that arises when one has fallen behind set expectations, all while silently holding on and pressing forward with a small sense of hope. “Angel’s Song” basks in the nihilistic face we tend to uphold when we’re cursed with a hopeless romance.
Sophie is a collection of poetic numbers wrapped with discontent, a fleeting sense of misery, hopefulness, and sealed together with a profound sense of wisdom for a recently-turned 19-year old. The project has this unique feeling akin to standing atop the tallest building in New York on a rainy day: a limitless being tempted with a sense of flightlessness, a grainy visual somehow bestowing an immaculate sense of clarity. Parks summarizes the entirety of the poignant project, sharing,
“it’s written about the human condition - about our relationship with ourselves, how we deal with pain, how we express love and whether it’s possible to achieve clarity in a world of doubt.”
Parks is an awe-inspiring artist that has already carved out a comfortable home in our hearts, and we’re more than excited to see what her future holds.
Listen to Sophie below: