Sophie Allison — or as the music world knows her — Soccer Mommy, has spent the last year and a half since the release of her debut album Clean on the rise. In 2019, Allison performed at some of the most prominent music festivals of the year, including Coachella and The Governors Ball. She released the single “Lucy” in early November 2019, and then followed it up with single “yellow is the color of her eyes.” On Feb. 28, 2020, Allison released her sophomore studio album, Color Theory. Soccer Mommy’s fans were eager for more of her signature style, with her sweet, airy vocals that sometimes go rough during the climax of a song.
The two aforementioned singles were perfect predecessors for the release. Where Clean was Allison’s edgy, powerful and raw entrance into the world of popular alternative music, Color Theory is the album that shows how comfortable she has become in the industry. Songs like “Lucy” and “bloodstream” channel even more of an alternative-rock sound than what was present on Clean. Instead of overloading the project with slow ballads, Allison uses songs like “night swimming” and “crawling in my skin” as the deeper cuts. While these tracks are certainly emotional, they’re not slow and sad.
Though the album as a whole is almost perfectly unified, there are spots where the album drags a little, which diminishes the effect of other songs. For example, “stain,” a song that has a guitar pattern that sounds just like the beginning to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” does not fit in with the feel-good sounds of the rest of the album. Having this song second to last slows down the album in a way that doesn’t give the last song, “gray light,” the justice it deserves. While “gray light” is slower, it’s an almost uplifting song, but following in the dark, unnecessarily sad shadow of “stain” makes it less powerful. While “yellow is the color of her eyes” is a beautiful song and was a great choice as one of the album’s singles, its length is a little excessive. Fortunately, Allison follows it up with “up the walls,” a short and bouncy song clocking in at just over two and a half minutes.
Allison took her sadness and pain and made it into an album that (miraculously) isn’t a huge bummer. Clean is the perfect album to listen to when you need a good hour-long cry. Color Theory is the album for your recovery. Though much of the subject matter isn’t happy, like heartbreak and distance, I still somehow leave listening to the album feeling at peace. Allison creates a distinct sense of hope on even her saddest songs off of Color Theory. The best example of this comes at the end of her last song, “gray light.” While it’s definitely a sad song, it rapidly culminates to an ending that then cuts out prematurely. Closing the album on a perhaps unfinished note leaves the ending open, conveying an indistinguishable feeling of hope for the future. I truly don’t know how she does it, but maybe that mystery is what makes Soccer Mommy so damn good.