The Soothing Sounds of Alina Baraz On Her New EP ‘Sunbeam’
Words by: Matthew Griffiths
What’s your go-to anxiety relieving music? Some listen to classical music. Others listen to movie soundtracks. There are those who don’t listen to music for anxiety at all, but rather listen to “nature sounds” like the sound of falling rain in a storm (although possibly laid over the top of an eternally humming Kid Cudi on loop). For me, it’s not the sound of rain that helps wash my anxiety away, but a type-beat producer on YouTube called ‘wrain’. His Partynextdoor and Drake inspired beats feel dark, gentle and warm, and get you feeling like you’re driving home at night through the city.
Maybe this is what attracted me to click on the thumbnail of Alina Baraz’s lyric video for ‘Alone With You’. It matches the late-night drive vibe exactly.
Aesthetically, Alina Baraz and director Jackie Kulla are a dream team. The video exhibits a curated mix of old and new looking footage. Although, predominantly we see Alina in a beautiful car driving through the city. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s beautiful because of its simplicity. The car she rides in looks elegant, shiny and slick as it smoothly rolls past and Alina’s long hair flows freely in the wind.
Sonically, the song is mostly chill, but its bassline provides a groove that makes me hope she’s riding in a Cadillac just to match the energy. I love the arpeggiated notes at the start before the drums kick in. They’re like low-pass filtered clarinets or some other woodwind instrument. Alina’s voice is gentle enough to melt your heart. After an absolute lullaby of a breakdown, there is an awesome beat switch which I can’t help but pull up a couple of times when I hear it. The drums don’t go as hard here – think “Marvin’s Room” by Drake. Again, it’s so simple but it just works so well it’s like it’s effortless.
This track, ‘Alone With You’ is from part 1 of a two-part EP release with part 1 being named Sunbeam. Each track has a lyric video on YouTube that compete with one another for aesthetic beauty and peace-inducing vibes. Track 2, ‘Between Us’ meets my ears somewhere between a vaporwavey 80’s American laundry detergent commercial and psychedelic funk. The hummingbird and astronomy visuals are highly saturated and draw my attention in a way that lyric videos don’t normally do for me.
The fourth track, ‘I Could Imagine’ runs along similar lines to the other tracks, providing a relaxing yet bassline driven ethereal peace-dream of a sound that I haven’t heard anywhere else. My favourite song on the EP, however, is Track 1, ‘If You Let Me’. The lyric video is a collection of purple, washed-out looking footage of a classic-looking romance movie mixed with shots of Alina. I love the lyrics of this one – it’s as if she knows what her energy is capable of, lifting away the worries and anxieties of others.
“When you’re under pressure/
When things get too heavy leave it to me/
If you’re ready don’t keep your feelings to yourself/
If you let me I’ll treasure all the things you tell“
Part 2 of the EP, entitled Moongate, was released on October 29, 2021 and I’m excited to dive into that next.