|Album Review: Snoh Aalegra – Ugh, those feels again|
-Ugh, those feels again
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Snoh Aalegra unravels the sequel in the film score to her love life on -Ugh, those feels again. Playfully titled, -Ugh, those feels again serves as the raw and vulnerable follow-up to her 2017 debut album, FEELS.
Filled with mountaintop-highs and valley-lows, the emotive soundscape, which was executive produced by No I.D., follows Snoh on the tumultuous journey of falling in and out of love.
Side A of the reel opens up with the slow-winding “Here Now.” Aalegra invites listeners into her world, one where inhibitions are left at the door and alllll the feels are explored. Aalegra’s smoky vocals play on loop before blossoming into the colourful “I Want You Around.” A gentle spring of desire, Aalegra can’t help but be enamoured in the presence of a special someone.
Aalegra’s satin vocals diffuse into ”Situationship” as she catches herself falling into a whirlwind of emotions she can no longer ignore. The mesmerizing trill of chimes and steelpan synths swim in pools of honey as Aalegra ponders about a complicated relationship. Dizzy from an apparent overdose of emotions, it’s on “Whoa” where Snoh finally finds her footing atop a mountain. Locked with the eyes of her lover painted against the backdrop of the most glorious sunset, Aalegra lets loose to see where love will take her. And boy–is she in for a ride.
Aalegra tastes the sweetness of perfectly aged wine on the tender “Find Someone Like You”. The timeless joint feels like looking back at VHS tapes of joyous moments together, hand in hand with a lover. Its nostalgic feel is perfected with the orchestration of violins before a choir ends off the number in heavenly intonation. Steam fills the room on the head-turning “Toronto.” Produced by Toronto’s own Matthew Burnett and Riley Bell, “Toronto” sees Aalegra’s smoky vocals climb the octave scales with ease over the song’s deep bassline. Her tone is arresting, leaving her lover with one obvious choice: to give in. A soft moonlight fills the room, lighting the skin of her lover. An unforgettable night is on the way.
Darkness starts to engulf the aura on “Love Like That,” where Aalegra questions why her lover’s actions aren’t matching his words. A master with the pen, The Iranian-Swedish singer candidly expresses: “In my mind, I'm done fighting. In your heart, you keep trying. And the truth is I hide it. That's just the way we are.” Aalegra opens up to the possibility that love isn’t as easy as its deemed, but asserts that she’s in it for the long haul.
Side B of the score begins, and we see the once colourful rainbow of Aalegra's hope for love dim to grey. On “Be Careful,” Aalegra reflects on her vices, acknowledging that while she has been hurt in relationships, she too has once played the antagonist. The film flickers into a staticky black and white ambience on “Charleville 9200, Pt. II” where Aalegra questions how her lover let her slip from his hands, asking: “Why you take me up this high? Just to put a hole in my parachute so I would fall for you. Why you let us get this low? When you know I'd give up my life for you, ride and I'll die for you.” But no question could prepare Aalegra’s lover for “You"–a soulfully sincere confession that sees Aalegra remove all veils and be completely transparent about her insecurities in love. She doesn’t hold back from expressing her fears as she attempts to fathom how it could be possible to move on with a gaping hole in her heart.
But sometimes, it’s simply too late. Too many "sorries" dilute an apology’s authenticity, and that’s when Aalegra explains she really just isn’t here to be used time and time again. On “Nothing to Me” Aalegra breaks down what she won’t stand for any longer. The track’s hip-hop bounce shows Aalegra is confident and self- assured; in a headspace where she calls the shots. At her core, however, Snoh Aalegra is a hopeless romantic. Love is embedded in the very nature of who she is, and walking away from it isn’t an act Aalegra can keep up for long. On “I Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love,” Aalegra lays down her regrets, her fears, and accepts the fact that she is indeed in “those feels again”.
Delicately crafted, -Ugh, those feels again shows how, even when everything seems like it’s falling to pieces, true love keeps hoping. When it’s tempting to run away from painful emotions, Snoh addresses them head-on with bold songwriting and unconfined vocals. A timeless tale of love, -Ugh, those feels again is bound to go down in the pages of R&B history as one of the most honest and soulful sentiments about modern love and relationships.