'I am an oversharer'
Nicole Otero
12:35 22nd September 2022

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“XO… do you ever miss me” is the very first line of one of the most anticipated pop albums of the year, and the collective answer is: OFC WE MISSED YOU, FLETCHER! Since her last project THE S(EX) TAPES came out just a couple of years ago, the release of New Jersey’s Cari Fletcher’s debut album Girl Of My Dreams was long overdue, generating a level of expectation hard to meet. Thankfully, FLETCHER delivered. And it would be an understatement to stop there…she fed her fans, she nurtured her fans and, most importantly, she gave her fans things they didn’t even know they needed.

The vibrant and incredibly effervescent record is charged with feelings from top to bottom, every track triggering a new emotion. Bittersweet revenge, evolution, growth, self-love, and more are the topics that Cari covers throughout the album with a beautiful, sonically-unifying thread featuring soaring vocals, pop-punk guitars, mystical synths, and selective electronic accents. Although, we’re more than thoroughly enjoying this new taste of FLETCHER, we can’t help but to wonder whether this was the album that was originally meant to be released as her debut. 

As most of her hardcore fans will remember, she had been confirmed to have had an album pretty much ready to go just before the pandemic but instead decided to go for THE S(EX) TAPES as the world stopped. We asked her if Girl Of My Dreams was THAT album or if she made some changes along the way, to which she tells us that "a couple [of] songs on THE S(EX) TAPES were meant for the debut album, as well as a couple [of] songs that are on Girl Of My Dreams".

She continues. "Most of that record was thrown away though, sadly, as I just grew out of what I was wanting to say in that very moment. The world stopped, the world shifted, I evolved in so many different ways. 'Forever' was going to be on that album, and I'm really happy that I veered away from that sonic and creative direction. It doesn’t feel like the artist I am or want to be. I do, however, love 'Forever (Stripped)' and the rock version of 'Forever' I play on the road. Those feel like two very authentic sides of FLETCHER.”

There’s a lot to be said in terms of the vulnerability in this album — and the brilliant lyricism in it which is equally as impressive. We wanted to know if the process of writing such personal lyrics was difficult. "I am an oversharer," she tells us, "and there’s like three to four songs on this album that I was unsure if I should release. At the end of the day though, I am always going to wear my heart on my sleeve and give all sides of my story and all versions of me. I’ve never been one to edit my narrative.”

Along the same lines, we were curious about which songs might have taken a toll, which ones were the hardest to make and which ones were the most enjoyable. “I was at a really low point when I wrote 'For Cari', but it’s my favorite song on this record. 'Better Version' is also one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. It was really fun writing and recording 'Serial Heartbreaker' with my good friend Jenn Decilveo. It was also a wild experience to be in the room with Marshmello, Michael Pollack, Madison Love and J Kash for 'Conversations: talk about hitmakers! I can’t wait to play those songs live, especially in arenas next year in UK and Europe."

It is really no surprise that those songs are the ones that hit the hardest in both directions, however, there’s a BIG elephant in the room in this album — and no, we’re not talking about the red corvette vintage T-shirt. Instead, we’re referring to the way in which FLETCHER samples herself on track number two 'Guess We Lied…'. "'If You’re Gonna Lie' is one of the most special songs to me from my catalogue…and I love hearing the lyrics screamed back to me at my shows. I loved the idea of honouring this record, celebrating the fans who have been with me since the beginning, and breathing new life into it with a new perspective. The original song was written about a toxic, bad-for-me relationship and 'Guess We Lied' is obviously written about a relationship that was quite the opposite. When you think your heart will make your way back to someone but then you realise that maybe you both lied...and that might not be a possible ending to the story anymore.”

FLETCHER has also been delivering on the live side of things, though we didn’t have many songs from the new album in the most recent tour. It was only towards the end that we got a live taste of 'Becky’s So Hot'. She's currently preparing to go out on the road again, this time with much of Girl Of My Dreams. “There’s nothing like being on tour. It makes all of this worth it. It’s especially empowering getting to meet so many people around the world who see their stories in mine, and themselves in me. I have never set out to be a role model but I am deeply humbled by those who allow my words to mean something. I am so stoked to play this new album live…I'm currently putting the set-list together. I definitely want to leave it a surprise for those who will be at the Girl Of My Dreams Tour...but I can confidently say that they will be hearing 'Becky’s So Hot' and 'Better Version,'" she tells us.

Banger after banger, this album has not only provided an excellent conversation starter for WLW because of how fire the songs are, but it has also opened the door to loads of talks regarding past relationships and self-acceptance. Having intentionally or unintentionally started drama with her ex by @-ing Becky, FLETCHER managed to unlock a whole new section of the internet (specifically TIkTok) that feels like ‘Keeping Up With The Lesbians’. If you’re a fan of this album, it is almost a given that your FYP is full of people trying to untangle celebrity relationships to the soundtrack of 'Becky’s So Hot'. On this subject, Cari tells us that “Sapphics deserve both break-up anthems and love songs. But the internet is totally insane, and the effect this song has had has been giving full L Word energy. I’d be lying if I didn’t reveal that it is in fact all over my TikTok FYP and Twitter timeline as well. I take full and no responsibility for the “lesbian breakup curse.””

It is beyond important to highlight what Cari said initially when talking about this album being completely different from what the originally conceived debut was meant to be. She grew out of the past album and instead went through a journey of self-acceptance by facing her demons, coming out the other side being the better version of herself. Although it is fairly clear that there’s some songs which hold a very special place in her heart, FLETCHER commented on the fact that, at the end of the day, putting all the drama aside, she really wants fans to focus on the main message of the record. “I hope fans really claim 'I Love You, Bitch,' 'For Cari' and 'Girl Of My Dreams'. I think you know why. We should all love ourselves unapologetically ‘till the day we die.”

As much as this album is built to give fans the satisfaction of identifying themselves with the songs, it is pretty important to recognise as well the idea of a queer female identifying artist coming to terms with, not her sexuality or self expression but her overall feelings for herself outside of a relationship. The level of vulnerability is certainly amusing and mesmerising, especially in pieces like 'I Love You, Bitch'. We asked how hard was it saying ILYB to the mirror to which she responded: “It’s never easy, but I’m really proud of the healing journey I’ve been on for the last few years to get to the point of loving who I am. The journey can be ugly and beautiful at the same time, and it’ll be different for everyone.”

Regardless of your thoughts on controversial relationships, Girl Of My Dreams is, objectively, pop brilliance. It has tapped on a currently very relevant vane of the zeitgeist that is making people connect with their feelings via a revival of pop-punk — without it being just another angsty poser album. With a little bit of FLETCHER magic, the record successfully stands out and separates itself from the sound-replicators that just jump on trends… while expanding on Cari’s universe in a way that fans have been waiting for. 

Although we’re months away, it is almost certain FLETCHER will be on tour (hopefully in the UK where this fellow Pisces can go to see her) on “March 18th at 11:59” and whether we get to sing her Happy Birthday in person or not, she can rest assured we’ll all be thinking of her and thanking the universe for bringing her into existence so that she could share Girl Of My Dreams with all of us. 

Girl Of My Dreams is out now. 

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Photo: Carlos de la Reina