Fenne Lily - Big Picture - Ultramarine
I never asked you to change and you're treating me like I did, the more I'm thinking about it, maybe I should've started" _____ Fenne Lily opens her third album with a confrontation. At odds with the UK-born, New York-based artist's dulcet delivery, this acerbic assessment of an intimate situation sets the tone for her third album perfectly. From the first line to the last, Big Picture finds Fenne seeking clarity in the uncertain; comfort in the uncomfortable. A gorgeous and gripping portrait of Fenne's last two years, Big Picture was rarely easy for it's author to produce but it's contents offer a brilliant catharsis. Started haltingly after a period of writer's block, the songs that would make up her latest work were pieced together over the course of the pandemic, in an effort to self-soothe. "Writing this album was my attempt at bringing some kind of order to the disaster that was 2020," Fenne states. "By documenting the most vulnerable parts of that time, I felt like I reclaimed some kind of autonomy." Though it's creation took place amid personal and global turmoil, the ruminative yet candid Big Picture is Fenne's most cohesive, resolute work to date, both lyrically and sonically. "This isn't a sad album - it's about as uplifting as my way of doing things will allow," she says. "These songs explore worry and doubt and letting go, but those themes are framed brightly. There's a sadness to the temporary nature of things, but that can be soothing, too." Like whispered assurances that seemingly unanswerable questions will someday resolve themselves, each track provides an insight into Fenne's ever-changing view of love and, ultimately, it's redefinition - love as a process, not something to be lost and found. Notably, these 10 songs are Fenne's first and only to have been written over the course of a relationship; 2018's On Hold and 2020's BREACH both confront the pain of retrospection, saying goodbye to a love that's gone. Big Picture does the exact opposite - rooted firmly in the present, it traces the narrative of two people trying their hardest not to implode, together. With confidence and quiet strength, the album delineates the phases of love and becomes a map of comfort vs claustrophobia. "This album is an observation of the way I think about love, the self-examination that comes with closeness and the responsibilities involved in being a big part of someone else's small (er) world," summarizes Fenne. "It was written in a place of relative emotional stability - stability that felt unstable because of it's newness, but also because of the global context. 2020 was the year of letting go, but we'd all already let go of so much and nothing felt like mine anymore. Writing always did, though, so that's what I chose to do.