Angie McMahon Tackles Self-Discovery and Heartbreak on Debut Album "Salt"
by Carina Ortiz
Australian singer-songwriter Angie McMahon has released her debut studio album “Salt.” With a total of 11 tracks and coming in at almost an hour long, the album features a variety of both slow and swift-moving tunes while exhibiting her lyrical prowess over and over again. Her voice is so prominent in the songs that it’s easy to hear just exactly what it is she’s feeling. Themes of loneliness, self-discovery, heartbreak, and darkness are spread all around.
“I can’t let you sweep me off my feet just yet when I’ve only just landed firm on the ground,” she opens up on “Soon” — the second track of the album. McMahon touches on subjects of both love and heartbreak that crushes you effortlessly and in the best way. “You've watched me shift my shape and fall into this mess / Well maybe you could wait for me, I'll do my best / To get out of this dreary place,” she sings, searching for calmness within chaos, something almost impossible to find.
On “Pasta,” she manages to put into words the exact feeling of frustration and desperation that most of us are too afraid to acknowledge or admit. “I've been sitting at the bar too much / Kissing people in my head and saying rubbish things I should not have said / I’ve been lost for a while and I’m feeling tired.” Here she describes hopelessness while also self-criticizing common toxic behaviors. The slow track is followed by a groovy beat towards midway, which exhibits classic garage rock vibes.
Listening to “Keeping Time” feels as if we’re experiencing being ripped apart firsthand, as McMahon sings, “All the ways we can bruise are of use to us / All the things I have burnt, I have learnt their cost / And oh there’s cracks in me.” We’re able to listen to McMahon essentially dissect herself through self-discovery, a feeling that not too many artists manage to emit. On her YouTube channel, she explains, “This is a rock song that I wrote about wishing I could write a rock song. I played this guitar riff over and over until I felt like it would bulldoze my laziness and my bad habits. It’s a love song to self-discipline.”
On “Push,” McMahon is going through the motions of heartbreak while acknowledging that she must let go. She uses every ounce of her voice to push out her words that feel like a stab to the gut — “Oh lover you let me so close to the line / Push me further and further / I'll save us the time / If you're gonna push me over I'll do it / I'll say our goodbye / Goodbye goodbye / I’ll save us some time.”
It’s refreshing to be assured that the feelings we often put aside or hide are a lot more common than we believe they are. Too often we feel crazy or melodramatic in feelings we experience almost every day. This is exactly what Angie McMahon achieves with the album itself.
“Salt” is overall a solid illustration of someone who’s searching for clarity within the darkness.