Arlo Parks - 'Caroline' Review

Label: Transgressive

Release Date: 23rd November 2020

Rating: 9/10


"The listener is expertly placed into an almost anxious state by Parks whilst we witness the melancholic passion of the two lovers fighting a losing battle."

Arlo Parks (via Transgressive Records).

‘Caroline’ is Arlo Parks’ 6th single to be released this year. Collapsed in Sunbeams is expected to drop on the 29th of January 2021, and this track is certainly a strong advertisement of what's to come. ‘Caroline’ is more reminiscent of Parks' first single of 2020, ‘Eugene’, than anything else we’ve heard from her this year, with the musical composition appearing to echo one another. The open portion of both songs offer vastly similar melodies and instrumental compositions as if to act as bookends for Parks’ singles in preparation for her album release. Yet when listening to ‘Eugene’, the intensity of Parks’ voice is far greater, possibly because ‘Eugene’ is based on Parks’ own personal experiences of a failed romance, whereas, in ‘Caroline’, Parks acts merely as a spectator.


The listener is expertly placed into an almost anxious state by Parks whilst we witness the melancholic passion of the two lovers fighting a losing battle. Her hauntingly breathy delivery of the repeating chorus seems to echo the lack of progress the “‘artsy couple” are making with resolving the issues within their relationship.


'Caroline' artwork.

In an interview with Annie Mac, Parks stated the song was an "exercise in people watching and seeing situations unfold without context." The listener is constantly reminded of their spectator position, considering that we only know the names of one of the two protagonists; Caroline, with the second being referred to solely as "he." ‘Caroline’ is a laid back, mellow and lyrically simplistic song. The repetitive chorus and simple instrumental layering do not detract from Parks’ bedroom pop style, allowing for the listener to be totally transported into her reality. Arlo Parks is definitely a name to watch over the next few years, especially since most of her 2021 UK and European tour sold out in under an hour, and if the rest of Collapsed in Sunbeams is in any way comparable to ‘Caroline’ and Parks’ other releases this year, we are in for a real treat come January.

Words by Lily Fisher.

3rd December 2020.


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