“I think I’m done with 21” is a thought many Tech students have probably thought at some point in their college careers, and singer-songwriter UPSAHL echoes this sentiment in such a tasteful way.
The indie-pop artist has proven that she is just as talented live as she is in a studio on her aptly-titled first live album, “This Is My First Live Album,” released on March 11. Listening to the album feels almost like being in-person in Boston at a UPSAHL concert. Although this album is a recording of her fifth ever headlining show, it sounds as if she has been performing for years.
Cranking out her first song, “People I Don’t Like,” UPSAHL sets the energy for the rest of the album. “Everybody in this party’s fake. I really wish that I could say it to your face,” she sings to a crowd of faces, eliciting cheers from audience members she just edged on. “Let’s pretend we like each other,” she continues, bringing to mind all of those networking conversations that Tech students have been a part of. Especially at a school like Tech, expanding your network and the people you know, is a never ending activity, bringing never ending social stresses. With her professionalist crowd work, she knows her fans want to be stepped on, but at the same time, she knows not to be too aggressive and lose them.Although her lyrics are aggressive, she gives a very amiable approach to her crowd, checking on them throughout the show.
Plugging her debut album, “Lady Jesus,” UPSAHL plays the title song of the album, explaining how she started writing the album as a breakup album but ended up writing about finding out who she was.
Singing about how she “took a nosedive off the Hollywood sign,” and “rose from the coffin,” she makes many parallels between herself and the Christian belief of Jesus performing miracles: turning water into vodka, walking on vodka and the second coming. She also makes a joke about halfway through the song, where she says “Amen, sorry s***, A-woman.” She gives a nice taste of the character that her album brings, aggressive femininity and empowerment.
Another sentiment that women here at Tech can appreciate is some strong female voices raising other women up instead of the daily hardships that a woman in STEM has to deal with. UPSAHL then takes it back down a level with an easy-going song named “Arizona,” a song about where she’s from, growing up, and realizing her self-worth.
Describing herself as “a girl from Arizona with a bottle in her hand,” and how “impossible” is her brand, she comes off as a very down-to-earth, real person as she describes her relationship with the patriarchy. Again, relating to the Tech student body, with its stereotyped relationship with drinking. Following immediately after, her next song was written, “about having a mental breakdown in the bathroom at a bar.”
Although some of her songs are incredibly over the top with aggression and empowerment, she keeps it relatable with songs like “Arizona,” and “Fake B*****”. Relating to the everyday student, with being pushed beyond their limit to the point of breakdown.
Chants of “one more song” overpower the recording as UPSAHL’s song, “Lunatic,” comes to a conclusion. Finally, after the whole set is played, UPSAHL comes back out to sing her most popular song, “Drugs,” met with an uproar of cheers from her crowd. Getting the crowd to help her sing the chorus, UPSAHL sings her last song as a very satisfying finale.
UPSAHL has a way of talking about the negatives of early adult life: parties, fake friends, money and drinking that any college student can relate to. She brings up the negative aspects of life in such a way that keeps her in control of her life. By putting names to these negative emotions, many might find listening to her music therapeutic.
With an empowering voice like hers, anyone who is a fan of similar artists like K. Flay or Phantogram will enjoy her new live album, “This Is My First Live Album.”