"Stupid Things," Sarah Dooley #TunesTuesday

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Sarah Dooley debut album Stupid Things

If you ever wanted to know what a "Sh*t Girls Say" musical might sound like, look no further than Sarah Dooley. And I don't mean that in a bad way. Sarah Dooley is very likely the most of-the-moment lyricist and artist I have come across from Generation Y. Not only does she manage to sound current (think quirky Brooklynite singer-songwriter), but she writes about things young people know about all too well.

Sarah Dooley grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana (once known as "City of Churches"), but moved to New York City to attend Barnard College, where she studied playwriting and created a web series that was featured in The New York Times' Freakonomics blog.

Now based in Brooklyn, Sarah Dooley is releasing her first album, the aptly-named "Stupid Things." The album is not full of stupid things, but maybe the stupid things that young people do and worry about. "Stupid Things" is very much an album about being a young adult, one who is straddling that solid line between adolescence and big, bad, menacing Adulthood. She talk-sings about "peeing in a stranger's pool," puffy pants, going "gay for a day," and popsicles and peonies, which might as well be today's hipster version of rainbows and butterflies.

In the lead single "Peonies," Sarah Dooley chirps: "I know how to be alone / I can sit and read all day" and goes on to sing "I can get by on any kind of love you have / it's a secret among men / oh, any way you can / is there any way you can / you can be my half-a-man / spare anything you can." So it's not all popsicles and peonies (or popsicles of peonies, to be specific), there might be something ice cold underneath all the chipper quirk. The album is dotted with several standouts, including the watery "Willow Tree," with its bittersweet taste of growing up, the bluesy "I Shook Hands With The Devil," and "Shadows," which has a bit of a retro, '70s feel.

To compare her to her predecessors: a more delicate Regina Spektor and, oddly, an off-beat Taylor Swift. There are things about her storytelling, her musical composition -- and sometimes even her voice (Dooley is the superior singer) -- that remind of me of the multi-millionairess. But where Taylor Swift weaves a catch-all net of ambiguous specifics to appeal to her every audience, Sarah Dooley writes for a very specific audience -- one that is likely college-educated, lives in a medium-to-large city, wears sundresses or Chelsea boots, and enjoys getting drunk off of cheap beer on the regular. It's not clear whether she was made for Brooklyn or Brooklyn made her, but Sarah Dooley fits right in with the milieu and captures a moment.

Sarah Dooley's album "Stupid Things" will be available on February 11.

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