When a record manages to blow you away within only three songs, you know you’re onto a winner. Hitting brutally close to home, Charli Adams’ poignant storytelling immediately sweeps her up into the ranks of her musical peers Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy: Bullseye is perhaps 2021’s most-needed debut.
An album drenched in a pensive glow, Bullseye triumphs from its ability to reflect. Adams doesn’t shy away from past difficulties. Instead, she tackles them head on, creating beauty from despair. With the album’s name coming from a chance encounter Adams had with Justin Vernon, Bullseye is the musical embodiment of Adams leaving her past behind her, and opening new doors to hopefully greener pastures.
Beginning with the aptly named ‘Emo Lullaby’, we’re instantly introduced to the bleakly beautiful world of Bullseye. A dreamy chorus pairs itself perfectly with intricate lyricism guiding us through Adams’ most private moments. From therapy to loneliness, Adams ability to weave a story through her words is unparalleled. Despite what the name suggests however, I wouldn’t recommend listening to this one before bed, unless you fancy crying yourself to sleep.
‘Didn’t Make It’ utilises excellent percussion to create a space-agey number, rife with a juxtaposition of hauntingly uplifting synths, that transform throughout the track from Eno-esque walls of sound to poppy explosions of gleeful noise. It’s in finding the balance between happy and sad where Adams really shines. She perches her sound slap-bang in the middle of a perfect spectrum, one side never overpowers the other, unless she’s allowed it to happen.
As the record continues, it’s nice to see that Adams feels comfortable in sharing details of the time she’s called the hardest moments of her life. On these moments she’s said, “I also never really imagined I would feel liberated enough to share these stories so openly when the people and problems I’m addressing still exist in my life every day.” This music evidently means a lot to Adams, and on these songs, her assured confidence never falters.
Throughout the rest of the album we’re treated to synthy odes to smoking with your pals, (‘Get High w/ My Friends’), moments of empowered instrumentals and glorious passion, (‘Bullseye’), and brief interludes of sonic solace, (‘Headspace’). I don’t think there’s a box left unticked where this record is concerned.
Bullseye is undoubtedly one of the greatest debuts of the year. With complex lyricism and emotive instrumentation, it’s the perfect accompaniament for late nights, early mornings, and those days where nothing quite seems certain. In short, Bullseye is a must-listen…don’t sleep on this one.