Cari Fletcher first heard Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Lady” as her mother drove her to center college. “That was the second I used to be like, ‘Okay, perhaps I like women,’” she informed GLAAD about 15 years later. She took on-line quizzes with titles like “Am I homosexual?” and googled—so much. Fletcher ultimately got here out as queer, and sought to middle that have in her twinkling, fizzy pop. Her songs are dense with unfiltered disclosures. In 2020, she launched a seven-song EP referred to as The S(ex) Tapes concerning the demolition of a relationship; her ex-girlfriend shot the music movies. A yr later, Fletcher returned to Katy Perry with “women women women,” a one-off single constructed round a shiny interpolation of the “I Kissed a Lady” refrain. The track underwhelms: It’s full of clichés about hanging onto the second and a woman who “seems like a masterpiece.” However simply earlier than she launches into the refrain, Fletcher coos, “Go inform your mother it’s not a part.” It’s a fleeting pulse of affirmation, a wink to queer ladies who’ve had their identities dismissed.
There’s a straightforward enchantment to an artist who dangles this many confessions; intimacy is a shortcut to affection. Fletcher focuses a lot of her music on asserting how weak she is, however each try to precise that vulnerability comes off as obscure and nonspecific. On Lady of My Goals, her full-length debut, she as soon as once more hides behind concerted confessions. The document traces a breakup and the ensuing path to a Lizzo-ified idea of self-love. The titular “woman of my desires” seems to be Fletcher herself. She hurls the phrase “I really like you, bitch” at herself within the mirror. Elsewhere, she assigns clunky labels to her feelings with out interrogating and even absolutely articulating them. “Existential disaster mode,” she wails over flitting drums on “Conversations,” greedy at linguistic shortcuts to hold the burden of her inside monologue. “Get myself in conditions/Totally different folks, completely different locations,” she sing-shouts on “Serial Heartbreaker,” a Paramore-indebted observe constructed on catchy, twitching synths.
There are shards of intriguing concepts buried within the album’s plodding acoustics and garish rock-pop confections, however Fletcher fails to excavate them. “Birthday Lady” strains to hold the vanity about sharing a birthday with an ex. “Becky’s So Sizzling,” a single engineered for virality and shock worth with a video starring Bella Thorne, turns into a flimsy caricature about lusting after an ex’s new girlfriend: “She flame emoji, wow,” Fletcher yowls over a melodramatic guitar.
She litters the album with awkward traces of Web-speak, shouting “fuck you to the unhealthy vibes” on “For Cari” and describing herself as “singing the unhappy woman songs” on the title observe. Fletcher alternates between trite similes—inexperienced eyes the colour of a forest, emotions that surge like a tidal wave, heartbreak that hits like a missile—and gushing admissions about how scorching, tormented, or devious her love curiosity is. Even the propulsive thump of “Sting,” the perfect track on the album, sags when tenderness curdles into melodrama: Fletcher turns from prodding on the ache of a failed relationship to wailing about diamond rings. The New Jersey-raised artist is a songwriter who feels deeply, who’s so intent on conveying the depth of her feelings that she skips over any sense of stakes. The ladies on the middle of those songs are flat, clean areas: The one concrete picture she supplies is a Taylor Swift shirt crumpled on an ex’s ground.
Fletcher makes songs so queer ladies can see themselves in her, slotting our aches and anxieties into her skittering pop. On “Her Physique Is Bible,” she sings concerning the sanctity of a need so clear it empties you out. Pop has braided the sacred and the profane for thus lengthy that it barely registers as subversive, however when Fletcher hurls “amens” over a climbing beat, or when she flounders to explain what she’s feeling and all she will be able to give you is heaven, she shakes you into paying consideration. Every now and then, there’s a consolation in her generalizations. However to seek out it, you will need to wade via the treacly platitudes, frenzied drum patterns, and wince-inducing lyrics. Solely then will Lady of My Goals ship one thing near salient.
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