New Music Recs: “Oblivion” by Alaska Reid

Terrible Records is an indie label with a deceptive name. One of their artists is Alaska Reid and her latest album Big Bunny has an excellent song that I’d like to focus on today: “Oblivion.”

First of all, Alaska has a beautiful voice. I don’t use that word lightly, especially since I know it gets thrown around a lot. It is so mature, somehow solid, even, and slots perfectly between the light crunch and snap of the song’s electronic beat. I love the way her voice stands its own ground during the chorus – “you and I, c-come on, somewhere in oblivion” – without getting lost in the rising waves of its synths. I do like how she allows herself to fall into a vocal fry occasionally because that makes her sound real and self-aware. She’s not straining herself unnecessarily. Her voice has echoes of King Princess, without the mumblecore. I also found comparisons between Alaska’s sound and Lorde’s, especially when it comes to the lyrics, specifically the lines about drinking PBR and talking about scars. “Hollow like the bottles that we drain,” anyone?

Speaking of those lyrics: they’re haunting when you give the song another listen. (I got lost in her voice so I had to reexamine the song a few times.) Alaska is talking about the ghosts of her past and wondering whether she really is better off without them, or if she hates herself for being unable to let them go. There is an excellent tension within the song between chasing after those ghosts and trying to leave them behind. I also loved Alaska’s description of meeting someone in the “pine trees and sweet grass.” It evokes a quiet, secret place where past and present mix.

Above all, this song is so incredibly catchy. Give it a listen and don’t be surprised if it ends up on repeat for you, too: