It’s only been a couple years since Madison Beer released her debut album, Life Support, but the 24-year old artist went through quite the musical maturation in that time. The singer’s sophomore album, Silence Between Songs, channels a bygone era of pop music, with a keen sense of purpose. If you’re looking for pop bangers filled with bold synths and big beats, keep moving; Silence brings an unexpected intimacy that showcases a talent on the rise.
From the bluesy guitar plucking of opening track “Spinnin,” Beer sets an immediate course toward something new. The singer shows off a vocal nuance and a surprising range that spans from a quiet whisper to soaring power. As the album title might suggest, the silence isn’t only between songs—the tracks here are breathable and spacious, allowing her room to emote.
“My heartbeat’s racing like a strange ballet/ Did the world stop spinning today?” Beer sings with a delivery that verging into a classic territory.
A pulsing bass beat introduces “Sweet Relief,” but not how you might expect. The track is understated, almost funky—a ’70s throwback with a cool and collected personality. It’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the album, but in this context, it’s still subdued. Then, “17” enters with a groovy shimmer; a lightly picked guitar begins before a jazzy rhythm enters the mix.
“All my life I’ve never had a chance to stop and smell the flowers,” Madison Beer declares on the autobiographical offering.
There’s definitely a chance to stop and smell the flowers here. It’s a record to lie down and daydream away the afternoon. “Ryder” is an ode to Beer’s younger brother and their collective upbringing, the story of “two kids caught in the crossfire.” It’s a poignant and beautifully executed acoustic track. “Nothing Matters But You” turns the clock back even farther. It’s another classically tinged track filled with quiet atmospherics.
Beer doubles down on the solemn harmonies of “I Wonder,” a carefree summer bop with a beautiful throwback sensibility. Her grasp of her own vision just gets more impressive as the album goes on with her ability to deliver powerful but subtle vocals.
“I taught myself to cry on cue/ I close my eyes and think of you,” she sings on acoustic ballad “At Your Worst,” which feels closer to contemporary pop . “Showed Me (How I Fell In Love With You)” brings a quiet cool with a defined drum rhythm locked right in with the bass. Vocally, her singing sounds similar to Billie Eilish, although the execution on the track is quite a bit different. It has an immediately infectious quality and is one of the high points of the record.
“Home To Another One” fuses a vintage funk sound with a modern pop personality. It picks up the energy following a string of ballads and mid-tempo tracks. Beer quiets things back down for piano ballad “Dangerous,” a divine and soaring piece of music that sounds classically cinematic in its arrangement. Both “Reckless” and the album’s title track bring an eclectic energy that shifts between rhythmic and melodic. The album concludes with the well-sung dramatic, classic-rock-like ballad “King Of Everything.”
Silence Between Songs is an unassuming, unexpected powerhouse. It thrusts a pop star into the spotlight in a most unorthodox way. Some fans of Madison Beer’s prior work may be taken by surprise by the low-key nature, but this album is simply too good to cast aside.
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.