Alternative-pop singer/songwriter Lua Faye closed out 2021 with her debut album, OVERCAST, which explores mental themes and dynamics from her last relationship. Recording in Annandale, VA, Lua explores new styles as the sounds within the contained 9 songs differ from each other, all tied together by vulnerable and raw messages shared by explosive vocals. Filled with pop-adjacent sonic textures, OVERCAST gives listeners a glimpse into a likely-relatable journey through heartbreak.
The first two tracks, “Medicated” and “Swimming,” both use heavily reverbed basslines to evoke the depth of the topics being explored around mental health and how trauma can affect emotions and actions. They both use imagery of water to further express those inner thoughts. In “Medicated,” Lua explains how she feels like she’s sinking as she tries to maintain a sense of normalcy, aided by medication that makes her feel like she doesn’t want to be herself, but also feeling lost without her depression. Her desire to escape, simply so she can breathe, is juxtaposed by her desire to be seen and understood. In “Swimming,” she goes from sinking to swimming, presenting a slight upturn in mood that is followed by an intensified depth of production. Listeners can hear Lua try to come to terms with the parts of herself that she dislikes but is trying to learn to live with because she knows her past can’t be changed.
“Bodies 2” is a rework of her previously released single, “Bodies.” A tonal shift is experienced as the song takes on more of an R&B-inspired soundscape, with a slower tempo and sensual vocals. Lua expresses more compromise through the lyrical content, saying she’s cool with playing by the subject’s rules when it comes to the entanglement of their relationship. She understands that she can’t change the subject, even if it ends up leaving her feeling empty and unwanted. Backed by melancholy piano keys, her introspective lyrics follow her train of thought of self-doubt and, subsequently, self-depreciation.
Another tonal shift comes with “Happy” as this track becomes the first time listeners hear Lua express what she really wants – to be happy, which is something so many of us want and can relate to. The production is stripped down to an acoustic ballad, filled with sorrowful lyrics that represent the difficulty of walking away from the relationship, which feels comfortable, but also glimmering with the desire to do what is best for herself. Lua shares that this is her “most vulnerable song to date…recorded straight out of heartbreak, straight off a phone call in Richmond.” The calmness shifts quickly into a quickened tempo and stronger pop production in “Cigarette High.” Lighter tones scattered throughout the soundscape represent a deepened shift into a new space of the relationship – a realization of how much of herself she lost in it.
“The Crash” returns to a more acoustic sphere, backed by a piano ballad, as Lua reflects on the welcomed sense of relief she feels in the crash following the relationship. She reflects on just how unhealthy it was and how unloved she felt. While the track still has a melancholy feel to it, Lua begins to speak on the relationship in a new way as she begins to accept that she was not the only one at fault in the downfall. Continuing with her messaging in which she shares advice to her younger self, “Lose You” takes on R&B-inspired sounds that balance out the more triumphant feeling that begins to seep through the edges of the track. There’s a notable newfound strength that is palpable in the lyrics. Rather than reminiscing on losing her ex, she flips the script by saying “let him lose you,” and reminds herself to love herself. The strength continues in the following synth-driven “I Just Need Space.” Listeners can hear that her ex is poking back into her life, but she’s pushing back against it because she needs to focus on herself. Returning to her previous understanding of how she lost herself in the relationship, she makes it clear that she has no interest in losing herself again.
The aptly titled closing track, “Goodbye,” brings the album to a satisfying close with a brightly resonating dreamy pop atmosphere. Lua expresses her happiness in being by herself and the love that she has found for herself through the entire process. The lyrical content represents a complete 180 switch from the Lua we first met in “Medicated.” She’s stronger and more confident, understanding her self-worth and knowing what she deserves when it comes to external relationships. She has found peace within herself and therefore closes the chapter of her book that was marked by this tumultuous relationship.
With a run-time of just under half-an-hour, OVERCAST is worth a listen if you are in need of a relatable post-breakup album.