By Allegra Solomon, Contributor
[Double Double Whammy; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Blue Mountain Road”, “If Blue Could Be Happiness”, “Red Bird”
If Blue Could Be Happiness, the most recent project by New York indie act Florist lives in slow, melancholy melodies with the lyrics to match. As lead vocalist and songwriter Emily Sprague copes with the death of her mother, Florist manages to put out an album that encapsulates the “blue” life that follows after a loss. Though melancholy, the album manages to simultaneously be calming and beautifully constructed.
The opening track, “Blue Mountain Road”, introduces us to the acoustic basis for the album. Sprague comes into the song with soft echoing vocals, singing about the uncertainty of what comes after death: “The universe is mine / But I haven’t heard a thing / About where I will return when it’s finally time to leave.” The rest of the song follows a similar pattern, as Sprague softly hums over acoustic picking about the color blue, how it is in her heart and how it will remain there even after death.
“If Blue Could Be Happiness” is the eighth track, maxing out at five minutes and seven seconds, as the longest song on the record. This track ties the album together, giving the reoccurring theme of “blue” a bit more meaning: “If blue could be happiness, then that’s all I want.” Along with Sprague’s mention of blue in her heart, there is mention of how the sky is light blue in track two, “What I Wanted to Hold“. Every mention of the color blue is given truth in this song, as we see Sprague’s life is consumed by this sadness. She struggles to find happiness again, and repeats the line, “If blue could be happiness, then that’s all I want”, non-stop for almost three straight minutes.
The album wraps up with the stripped down “Red Bird”. Introducing a new color theme, this song directly addresses the mother/daughter relationship: “So I see myself / A mother’s only daughter in the red of the earth / Tell the blue jays ‘come inside’.” The song is simple, but heavy in emotion and meaning. Sprague pours her heart out in this final track, bringing an album for and about her mother to a somber close.
Though the songs on If Blue Could Be Happiness seem derivative of each other and a bit too close in construction and sound, solace is found in the fact that the album serves a purpose far more important than the consumption of the idle listener. Put some headphones in, sit outside, and listen to this 35-minute album all the way through: it’s worth it.