2018 has been a year of learning to cope. The music of the year has really reflected that, and Gia Margaret is a new face on the block that has really caught the core of that feeling in its most intimate and honest form. Gia Margaret searches for hope in her innocent There's Always Glimmer, her shattered debut album that explores her struggle to find herself in the wake of loss.
The rawness of There's Always Glimmer adds a whole new level of tragedy. Margaret has a way of truly capturing the essence of loneliness in so many different ways throughout There's Always Glimmer, beginning with 'Groceries.' The very first words that introduce the record are "It’s safe to say it’s been a hard year," Margaret cutting straight to the truth to set up the rest of the album. The song's quiet atmosphere feels warmly vintage yet broken, feeling like you're sonically watching an old videotape. The chorus sadly but quietly cries, "Though it’s not easy to see there’s always glimmer / You bought the groceries / And you let the light in... You let the light in when it’s dark," Margaret showing how deep this lonely pain runs. 'Birthday' follows with a seemingly more positive vibe, but it is assuredly just as broken. It's almost eerie how the lyrics settle in with the brighter instruments, Margaret chanting "I wouldn't doubt I hadn't died enough" and "Could it ever feel okay not to be with you on your birthday," perfectly showing the want to be happy yet impossibility of escape on the day of her lost love's birthday.
The pain in There's Always Glimmer cuts very deep. While the record is truly tragic in sound, nothing hits quite as hard as the gentle knife of 'Smoke.' Margaret's vocals are almost crystalline yet so vulnerable, shaky in just the right ways as the dual harmony dances worriedly above the gorgeous piano-led instrumental. The ethereal vocals feel so innocent yet so pained, it's almost hard to listen to without feeling some trace of regret or pain. There's Always Glimmer explores Margaret's loss in lots of ways, sometimes looking at the past to remind her of good times (the cute piano instrumental 'For Flora') and other times so impossibly alone it feels like she can never escape ('In Normal Ways,' the chilling, longing track that is the perfect sonic representation of being caught behind a one-way mirror being forced to watch the other side with no hopes of escape). It even gets somewhat existential, with tracks like 'Exist' feeling like the very inner workings of her mind. Rawer tracks that stray away from the more vintage production like 'Looking' feel longing all the same as the previous tracks, closing track 'West' much the same, bringing the record to an interestingly abrupt close, as if she can't continue to face this reality anymore. As she explains in 'Sugar,' she seems caught in a cycle of being unable to see things positively because everything is a reminder of times that will never return.
Gia Margaret searches for hope in her innocent debut There's Always Glimmer, a truly heartbreaking and intimate record that looks at the very inner workings of a true and real loss. It's impossible to face any heartbreak easily, let alone channel it out in a way like Margaret manages to. You feel just as asphyxiated by the weight of a shattered heart at Margaret does in There's Always Glimmer, every song managing to piece together her story while reflecting back parts of your own. It's haunting how powerful something so seemingly simple manages to be.
Favorite Tracks: Smoke, In Normal Ways, Groceries, Sugar
Least Favorite Track: For Flora
Rating: 88 / 100
Stream or buy There's Always Glimmer on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: