An album drenched in intimacy
Laura Molloy
14:00 5th April 2022

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“Need love, write this down,” are the first words uttered in Syd’s unmistakably angelic voice on Broken Hearts Club. It’s a fitting introduction to an album drenched in an intimacy akin to snatching glimpses of her tearful diary entries or peeks at the romanticised scrapbook of a failed relationship.

Since her initial foray into pop-culture consciousness with Odd Future, Syd’s music has narrated the intricacies of lust, fame, and partying—effortlessly delivered with a sense of serenity and an air of self-assuredness. Her 2017 debut Fin dealt largely with her grand ambition, as she grappled with the early days of immense success. Broken Hearts Club, her second solo album, sees Syd at her most vulnerable, as she truly delves into heartbreak for the first time.

It’s a record that documents the tragic journey of a soured relationship, from its tentative and innocent first steps to its golden glory days, and ultimately its crash to a bitter end. Here, Syd delivers some of her most gut-wrenching, confessional lyricism yet, revealing deep insecurity and the instability that comes with a gallant surrender to all-consuming love.

Thanks to impeccable sequencing, we live the experience with her, equally scorched by passion as frozen by solitude. Opening number ‘CYBAH’ is a plunge into the '80s sonic universe of Broken Hearts Club, all heartbeat-echoing synthetic drums and breathy vocals. It’s a foreshadowing of the turmoil ahead as Syd delicately begs to know: “Could you break a heart?” while glittering synths dance up and down. 'Fast Car', anchored by its danceable baseline and euphoric electric guitar solo, recalls the dreamiest of lovers' highs, existing as the catchiest song on the album.

'Sweet' is a similar commentary on love that eclipses materialism, where clubbing, jewellery, and money are sacrificed in effort to not “fuck it up”. ‘Outta My Hands’ chronicles the moment fickle control is lost and the cracks are exposed, but most devastating is ‘Goodbye My Love’ an admission of failure almost reminiscent of ‘Moon River’ in which Syd faults the hands of destiny for her love’s demise: “We had to put ourselves first, for once.”

Throughout, Syd effortlessly scoops the insecurity, turmoil, and pain of modern love onto a record that fuses '80s synth with R&B and radio-friendly pop. And despite touches of bitterness along the way, she departs with her dignity and self-worth intact on final track ‘Missing Out’, even as a great love disintegrates: “It wasn’t always perfect, but now its nothing”. It’s Syd’s unashamed entry into the Broken Hearts Club, and you’re invited to join.

Broken Hearts Club arrives 8 April via Columbia.

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Photo: Press