Vinyl LP, T-Shirt/Apparel, Compact Disc (CD), Cassette
The arc of Ada Lea’s 2019 debut, what we say in private, moved from introspection to reclamation and self-discovery after particularly grueling heartbreak. By contrast her sophomore release, one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden, is about devotion—to herself, to her friends, and to life in Montréal, which the artist born Alexandra Levy calls home.
Her pensive and dreamy pop scores city scenes filled with twirling dancers, blurry photographs, and winter skies. On opener “damn,” Levy’s stream-of-consciousness delivery follows the quiet drama of her interior life, bubbling up until she is on the verge of screaming. “Damn the life that’s winning,” she sings at the song’s close. Rage recedes into reflection on the orchestral “my love 4 u is real,” as Levy’s wavering falsetto expresses a love, “not like other love/ That hangs there/ Half dead”—tender, genuine, raw. Later, on the breezy “backyard,” Levy finds contentment in where she isL “There is something to be said/ About growing up in the neighborhood/ And then staying in that neighborhood/ Even when you finally could leave and explore other places near or far,” she sings.
Throughout the album, Levy’s emotions ebbs and flow, moving from anger to joy and love. Profound and dynamic, one hand on the steering wheel is a document of embracing your emotional truth.