~how i’m feeling~
AWAL · March 6, 2020
Lauv’s debut studio album, ~how i’m feeling~, embraces his multifaceted personality, focusing on six different characters that each represent a different part of him. Each coordinates with a color representing his mood — purple as existential, blue as hopeless romantic, green as goofy, yellow as positive, orange as fuckboy, and red as spicy Lauv™. Navigating through the album, it’s tempting to try and assign each song to a category. “El Tejano” is undoubtedly representing spicy Lauv™, whereas the visualizer video for “Feelings” is overlaid in blue. Yet many of the songs’ colors bleed together, crafting a more cohesive composition.
In embracing all of his unique characteristics, Lauv doesn’t try to censor himself; Instead, he delivers every story with as much honesty as possible. “Drugs & The Internet” is an energetic kicker lamenting “I traded all my friends for drugs and the internet” with a melancholic finish of “I wonder what it feels like / To be more than I am.” Many of the songs are a variation of the opener, seesawing between poppy tracks and tender sentiments.
“fuck, i’m lonely,” originally concepted in an airport, touches upon missing an old flame. The song, featuring Anne-Marie, is a fun teaser that showcases Lauv’s higher-pitched soft tones. Anne-Marie’s feature lends to a fully dimensional discussion of an old hook-up dynamic.
The album boasts an impressive lineup of featured artists, including BTS in “Who” and Alessia Cara in “Canada.” However, Lauv accomplishes more in his solo songs than he does with other musical partners. His unaccompanied tracks deliver a better full-fledged picture of who he is, whereas the ones with other artists adhere too willingly to outside sounds.
“Feelings” captures what feels like some of Lauv’s most original sounds, using sweet lyrics like “I wanna do whatever you wanna do” with a consistent, swaying rhythm. But the song is not exempt from sadness. Lauv makes sure to reference all sides of a relationship, such as, “Is my love too much? / Is it just enough for you?” and “That it hurts sometimes when I’m with you.” The first line deals with feelings of inadequacy, and the latter acts as a reminder that no one comes out of relationships unscathed. He captures a great level of emotion within just three minutes, demonstrating his prowess in making his listeners truly feel something.
In the end, Lauv wraps up the album with the anthem of “Modern Loneliness,” which explores the world’s current social media paradox, but also more. The singer croons, “Modern loneliness, we’re never alone / But always depressed.” In the opening of the song, he pays tribute to his father and how he has shaped who Lauv is today. From there, it’s a quick transition to feelings of emptiness where he shares a universal truth: “And I could use some love.” Though Lauv’s friends are easily accessible and within reach thanks to modern-day technology, he still deals with his own darkness.
It isn’t necessarily Lauv’s lyrics that make his music so effective, rather the consistent tone he establishes for the story he’s telling. Though addressing all his emotions on ~how i’m feeling~ was an ambitious task, Lauv thrives within the overarching theme allowing for an intriguing, introspective escape.