By McKenzie McGuire
I am a firm believer in the idea that certain records find you at the perfect time, take you by the hand, and walk you through a period of life. I first heard Maple Glider’s record, To Enjoy is the Only Thing, a couple of months ago and it has quickly become one of those guiding albums. A woman teetering between adolescence and adulthood, such as myself, is exactly what this record feels like. Clinging onto innocence, while letting go of expectations and ideas you thought were true.
Melbourne artist Tori Zietch (Maple Glider) composed and wrote most of her debut album, with production work by Tom Iansek. The album is primarily acoustic with a melancholic sound, yet so intricate. I almost imagine Zietch delicately hand placing each note, as though she is sewing individual sequins into a gown. All while each harmony and melodic line melts together with her buttery vocals.
The record begins with the track “As Tradition”. She repeats the lyrics, “Love is just a word”, throughout the song, describing how one has been taught a false narrative of love throughout their life. A lot of the song describes the common practice of young women being taught to conform into something that they are not, to be loveable over respectable. This theme comes up again in the track “Performer,” where Zietch feels like she is putting on an act, or playing a part for someone, just to earn this validation.
Two of my favorite tracks on the record, and probably two of the most heart wrenching songs I have heard in a while, are “Swimming” and “Good Thing”. Like most of the record, both of these tracks feature acoustic guitar accompanied by slow moving forceful drum patterns and creative melodies. The lyrics in these tracks, in particular, are about connections not going as you had hoped but learning from them through personal perception.
Apart from romantic connections, in the track “Friend”, Zietch writes about a toxic platonic relationship with a former bandmate. She uses story-telling lyrics to narrate this sort of ‘friend’ that makes you feel insecure about being who you truly are. The song describes a long-lasting friendship, in which the singer is scared to change and let go of someone who does not align with her anymore. Following “Friend”, we get a switch of perspective in “Be Mean, It’s Kinder Than Crying”, where Zietch reveals her own shortcomings and flaws within herself and relationships. The song tackles the situation of finally telling someone the truth after lying. Due to guilt, Zietch hopes for punishment instead of having to watch someone else be hurt.
“Mama, It’s Christmas” wraps up the album and puts a cherry on top, sending the final message of what this record encapsulates: Nothing is permanent and people are ever-changing, just like time. It is okay to grieve things that once were, but we must not dwell on the past forever. Overall, the meaning and musicality of this record leaves us with a beautiful, aching, peaceful feeling that I think everyone deserves to hear.
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