Album review: Sara Marie Barron’s ‘Existential Glam’

Finding the right sound is not always easy. There can be a lot of playing around with genres and combinations until the perfect match is stumbled upon. However, it seems to come easy to Barron as her angelic tone is contrasted perfectly with sharp drum beats and energetic brass tones. Her set is varied bringing together fast and slow tempos to convey feelings of heartbreak and soul-wrenching sadness. She creates a juxtaposition to these negative emotions with feelings of contentment and explores how she learned how to prioritize herself. 

Existential Glam is Barron’s second studio album after previously releasing Sad, But True in 2018. Using her voice as an anchor, Barron brings together elements of soul, pop, and R&B without losing the integrity of the genres. She pulls inspiration from a variety of artists but most noticeably Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, and Amy Winehouse. Existential Glam does not follow a single tone but rather balances mellow and electric songs moving between fast and slow tempos. The album as a whole shifts back and forth between slow and fast-paced songs, stressing the journey that Barron took in learning how to truly understand herself and her relationships. As a result of using a variety of background vocals with brass and percussion accompaniment, the album is perfect for a variety of occasions, including cozy afternoons or impromptu dance sessions. Her voice is comforting and relaxing while also engaging the listener to get up and sing along. 

Everything about Existential Glam is intimate. Barron shifts between using accompanying instrumental tracks in her music and layering her own voice, letting her meaningful lyrics guide the melody. The album flows through various stages of Barron’s journey searching for “the one.” Barron combines her silky delicate voice and extensive vocal range to give the listener a raw understanding of her feelings. 

Reputation and Up All Night open the album with slow beats to match her feelings of frustration and anxiety as they struggle to find the right person for her. At this point in the album, it is clear to the listener that Barron is putting all of herself into her relationships but is not receiving any reciprocated feelings which are harming her self-image. Both songs recognize the misgivings of the people around Barron but also recognize how hard it is to cut off her feelings for them. 

As the album progresses, the songs shift to her devoting herself to someone who does not completely reciprocate her feelings demonstrated through songs such as U Got Me and Every Little Thing. The final songs include Fickle, Picture, and Silence, where Barron focuses on her relationship with herself. Barron acknowledges her own shortcomings and how they have potentially impacted her relationships with others, which is exemplified especially through Fickle

By the end of the Existential Glam, Barron seems to have had a revelation about her self-image. In Picture, Barron is able to identify when she is with the wrong person and tells them to leave in order to avoid the anxiety that started everything. Instead of staying, she continues her journey to truly find “the one” for her. 

Barron’s self-love journey is unique but she is able to bring understanding to her listeners with her raw lyrics and harmonious melodies. She may not have found “the one” for her romantically, but I have no doubt that she has found the right sound for her vocal talents, and I am excited about what is coming next for the up and coming star.

To keep up to date on the latest from Sara Marie Barron, check out her Facebook or her website. Her latest album, Existential Glam, will be available on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes, and SoundCloud on September 25.

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