Soccer Mommy uses her inside voice in the outside world

In her latest album ‘Sometimes, Forever,’ Soccer Mommy explores feeling joy while being famous for her melancholy music.

Photo+by+Sophie+Hur%2C+courtesy+of+Soccer+Mommy

Photo by Sophie Hur, courtesy of Soccer Mommy

Dylan Tusinski, Staff Reporter

Through passionate lyricism and bedroom-pop production, alternative rock star Soccer Mommy captures raw emotion in a uniquely modern way.

Melancholy music is having a bit of a moment right now. Through pensive lyrics and low-key production, musicians like Phoebe Bridgers, Mitski and Soccer Mommy have become prominent figures in Generation Z’s musical mainstream.

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Sophia Allison, who makes music under the name Soccer Mommy, released her latest album, “Sometimes, Forever,” in summer 2022 to acclaim from critics and listeners alike. While most of her music focuses on her own emotional realities, “Sometimes, Forever” turns Allison’s gaze primarily outward for the first time.

The album is still introspective in many ways, but Allison spends more time facing her newfound fame than she has in prior projects.

“I guess for me, I couldn’t ever write something that wasn’t honest to how I was actually feeling.” –Sophia Allison, American singer also known as Soccer Mommy

As “sad-girl indie” music gains more and more popularity, many musicians within the genre are figuring out how to balance being famous for making sad music with feeling the full spectrum of human emotion, including happiness and joy.

Over a phone interview, Allison said it’s a skill she has learned to balance.

“I don’t feel personally locked into anything,” Allison said. “There’s probably a lot of people who do because it’s definitely something that’s very hip right now.”

In her song “Unholy Affliction,” Allison doubles down on that notion, making it clear that her music comes from true artistic expression, not from a need to fill any kind of a musical persona. She sings, “I don’t want the money/ That fake kind of happy/ I’d sink in the river/ Before I let it have me.”

Much like other artists in the so-called sad girl subgenre, Allison prides herself on authentic vulnerability. Being truly vulnerable, she said, includes writing songs about joy as well as songs about sadness.

“I also write plenty of stuff about being in a good headspace — being happy or driven by something — or just straight making shit up, making stories and stuff,” Allison said. “I guess for me, I couldn’t ever write something that wasn’t honest to how I was actually feeling.”

When sitting down and listening to Soccer Mommy, that emotion shines through. Even her pop-rock single “Shotgun” has a palpable emotional weight behind its catchy beat and brief, easily singable lyrics. In the chorus, Allison sings, “Whenever you want me, I’ll be around/ I’m a bullet in a shotgun waiting to sound.”

It’s easy to find yourself filling in the emotional blanks with your own experiences. Allison’s lyrics leave a lot of room for the listener to interpret, digest and insert themselves into the storyline, and that’s intentional.

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“I think vagueness is good,” Allison said. “You’re not writing a novel. You’re not writing a character. You’re just trying to weave together something.”

Allison said creating connection with listeners happens when you don’t say precisely what you mean. Throughout her career, Allison has strongly believed that sometimes what you don’t say can connect with an audience more than what you do say.

“It’s easy to say exactly what you’re saying,” Allison said. “I think it’s much harder to paint something that has all of this opportunity for understanding in different ways.”

The ability of listeners to interpret and read into music is a large part of why Soccer Mommy and the entire “sad-girl indie” subgenre are as popular as they are. Each lyric means a different thing to each person in a unique way, giving listeners a closely personal connection with the music.

Allison intends to build on that connection with her listeners as she continues her tour Touring, Forever. Soccer Mommy will perform Dec. 2 at Washington’s in Fort Collins alongside TOPS. Tickets are available at Washington’s website and box office.

Reach Dylan Tusinski at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @dylantusinski.