Compact Disc (CD), Vinyl LP
Despite the futility of his never-ending task and his awareness of that futility, one must imagine Sisyphus happy as he plods down the hill after the rock, concludes Albert Camus in his landmark existentialist essay The Myth of Sisyphus. Although she too self-identifies as existentialist, it would be difficult to accuse Claudia Ferme, who performs as Claude, of sharing Sisyphus’ contentment. On debut album a lot’s gonna change, Ferme is as lucid as Sisyphus but hardly as comforted by the absurd. She neither seeks nor finds enlightenment within a tidy 27 minutes of organ-ified new wave synths, bare-bones sax à la Cate Le Bon, and one heady LCD Soundsystem-style spiraling-at-the-club number. Her existentialist orientation, laid out point-blank in album closer “Oh, To Be,” positions her dangerously close to nihilism: “Oh, to be/ Has never made much sense to me/ Oh, to be/ I guess it doesn’t really matter.”
Granted, that kind of thinking is as existentialist as it is par for the emotional course of your 20s, when both the boundless potential and grinding routine of adult life simultaneously come into sharp relief. It’s a decade of anxiety, emotional myopia, single-serving friendships, and debilitating self-consciousness—all captured deftly here, and particularly effectively in the gauzy, Alvvays-ish “turn”: “It’s nice to have someone to talk to/ Even if it’s to pretend I’m fine.” Similar to her anxiety-pop predecessor Sky Ferreira, Ferme is frequently lost in her bedroom, a space where she is safe in solitude yet also one where the walls are always closing in. She mentions languishing in it repeatedly on “claustrophobia” and “i think i’ll pass today.” The latter, in fairness, also contains the record’s single shining instance of unbridled uplift.
Although she ponders “how to live like I should” on “roses,” a lot’s gonna change feels rooted in the present moment. In other words, it’s an album about how Ferme lives now or at least did when she wrote these songs. It’s as riddled with anxiety as Car Seat Headrest’s Teens of Denial and as inseparable from the angst specific to your 20s as Lorde’s Pure Heroine was to teenage malaise. By the time the album finishes on “oh, to be,” Ferme is not opposed to disappearing completely, especially if it frees her from having to be perceived by others.
It would be difficult to imagine Ferme happy, exactly. But she is definitely self-aware, periodically elated, a cool observer of her own life, and still pushing that rock back up the hill—even though it’s basically the same party with the same people every night, and the person lying next to her will inevitably leave, and it would perhaps be preferable to simply evaporate than to carry on like this. As the album title states, a lot may indeed change. It tends to. But a lot’s gonna change is a finely-tuned and smartly composed snapshot of a very specific moment in Ferme’s life, not a prediction of what may come next. The future, as always, remains to be seen.