The evolution of Clairo in 5 key moments
On the 16th of July Clairo released her sophomore album, ‘Sling’. Co-produced with Grammy Award winning producer Jack Antonoff, Sling was recorded at Allaire Studios in Upstate New York. The 12 track record turned back the clock sonically, referencing classic tropes of 1970s folk.
Clairo has been reluctantly titled an icon of Gen Z, often analysed through overtly simplified terms and perspectives, viewed through the lens of virality, YouTube fame and as an industry plant. With these narrow trends, she’s been categorised against her own volition. With ‘Sling’ she’s broken the barriers of her early fame, delivering a body of work that sees her wise beyond her years sonically and emotionally. While this evolution was obvious with her 2018 debut, ‘Immunity’, it only feels like now people are treating her songwriting seriously.
To map the evolution of Clairo as an esteemed songwriting force, we’ve broken down her evolution as an artist into 5 key moments.
1. Clairo goes viral on YouTube with bedroom track and video, ‘Pretty Girl’
Clairo drew world wide attention in late 2017 and 2018 with her viral YouTube video for ‘Pretty Girl’. The track was initially recorded for a compilation that raised funds for the Transgender Law Centre. By the end of 2018 it sat at 15 million views with its fame accredited to the YouTube algorithm. The track was a lo-fi experimentation in the world of 80s pop, featuring a uniquely personal, webcam video. With it, she became on of the first truely viral bedroom pop stars acting as the launching pad to her now critically acclaimed career.
2. Her first project, ‘diary 001’ proves her staying power
Following ‘Pretty Girl’ came her debut 2018 project, ‘diary 001’. It featured the already released viral cut aswell as super successful, lofi-pop number ‘Flamin’ Hot Cheetos’. Importantly however, the projects focus single, ‘4EVER’ introduced listeners to a more evolved and mature Clairo sound. The record bridged the gaps between the understated pop of her earlier work and more evolved and sonically expansive records. ‘diary 001’ proved Clairo more than just a one hit wonder, but an artist that was ready to explode creatively.
3. SG Lewis’ releases single ‘Better’ featuring Clairo
Following the release of ‘diary 001′ Clairo featured on rising dance-pop producer SG Lewis’ Better. The collaboration arrived at a pivotal moment in each artists’ career, offering up promising glimpses of where their respective careers might take them. With the track she delivered her most polished vocal performance yet, moving away from the clearly R&B influenced sounds of her debut project.
4. Clairo releases ‘Bags’ the first single of her debut album, ‘Immunity’
In mid 2019, Clairo announced her debut album, ‘Immunity’ with the release of its first single, ‘Bags’. The track was a very clear departure from her previous EP, utilising warped guitars and gorgeous piano chords to create a massive, indie-rock hit. The record was co-produced by former Vampire Weekend producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij. ‘Immunity’ saw Clairo turn from the bedroom-pop of her early days into refining a sound that was truely her own, with her immaculate songwriting ability at its forefront. The track listing featured soft rock numbers throughout, combining ballads, uptempo breezy alternate pieces and deeply felt emotional turns.
5. Clairo’s sophomore album, ‘Sling’ is met with wide critical acclaim.
After 2 years outside of the spotlight, Clairo released her highly anticipated sophomore record, ‘Sling’. The 12 track record turned back the clock sonically, referencing classic tropes of 1970s folk. It’s debut single, ‘Blouse’ was debuted on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with an incredible performance. Minimal in nature, the track combines solely an acoustic guitar with grandiose string lines, laying the perfect platform for Clairo’s softly delivered, yet powerful vocal. She’s taken her great diary worthy stories to a new level on the record, delivering a devilishly sharp commentary about an intimate relationship. The track’s lyrics are emotionally destructive. The tracklist features a sonically quiet bed, giving enough space for reflection. Stealing the show are Clairo’s lyrics, poetic in nature they trigger a range of heart wrenching moments on the record.
Image via Adrian Nieto
Words by PARRY TRITSINIOTIS