If you’re a big music head then you know the name Cleo Sol ain’t nothin’ to play with. What she did on Rose in the Dark was something special, but we’re not here to talk about that right now. She’s had a new album out for a while now and since I’ve had some time to sit with it, I think it’s time to really discuss it. I’m here to tell you in advance that all I am going to do for the remainder of this review is tell you why this tracklist has created an album that should be in the mix of your top albums of 2021. It’s one of the best albums to come out this year and I’m here to give it, its flowers. In day four fashion, let’s talk about Cleo Sol’s soulful album, Mother.
“There’s no hope in these rooms of looped dreams
All these pictures looking at me
Mothers don’t leave”
Now I could be entirely wrong here but my interpretation of this song is that Cleo Sol as a new mother herself is reflecting on what her own relationship was like with her mother. There was love missing in her home, her mother left them and she doesn’t want to do the same with her own child. Powerful intro.
Back to back heavy records right here. Taking things a step further from the first record, Cleo Sol contemplates finding ways to love herself after her mother left. Dealing with the feelings of being unwanted or unloved by a parent is heavy and she sings beautifully about promising to love herself through it all.
This song is about Cleo Sol thanking God for receiving the blessing of having a child. It contrasts the other songs in the sense that she explains how the birth of her child has made her heart full. Her child provides her with the hope and strength to keep going in life. Her vocals really take the energy of this song to another level. I don’t have a kid of my own but I could feel the raw emotion in this record.
“Forgive me, I’m not what you want me to be
But I was raised under a roof of unfinished dreams
How to love, how to trust without a fight
Finally learning how to live my own life”
This song taps into Cleo Sol’s lack of self-confidence and insecurities as a person. She needs that validation and acknowledgment from her loved ones. She wants to be seen and loved, just like each one of us.
This song literally feels like you’re watching the sun peep through the clouds and brighten up your whole day. It makes you feel hopeful on a cloudy day because even if today is a rough day, the sun will shine tomorrow. That’s the best way for me to explain this one.
Whether you’re religious or not, there’s a lot of beauty to this record. The background choir vocals, the progression of the instrumentation throughout the song, Cleo Sol’s angelic voice, it’s all fire. If you’re at a point in life that you feel lost, this is a song that just might help with feeling at peace with it all.
This song has my favourite production on the whole album. The guitar rifts right after the hook get me every single time. This is another great song about finding strength within to deal with whatever life throws at you.
“Don’t let it go to your head, don’t let them affect you inside
Take control of your mind, take control of your life”
This song standouts on the album to me because once again it has Cleo Sol reflecting on the relationship she has with her own mother but with one difference. Although she still feels the effects of the trauma she endures from her mother, Cleo Sol uses this song to mainly highlight the fact that her mother also went through her own hardships and wishes that she too, will grow and move forward as she fights her own demons.
“The little stars and the locked up dreams
The missing pieces, they’re in me”
This right here is my favourite song on the whole album. When the beat switch in the latter half of the song kicks in fam…yeah this is a special song. This is one of those songs I’ll let speak for itself. I don’t think you can really hear this song and hate it but maybe I’m wrong.
“Just startеd to live your life
I know you fell from your mothеr’s tree, but you
Just started to live your life
You can’t live someone else’s dream
Just started to live your life”
To me, this is song sort of has a duality to it. It comes off as Cleo Sol having an internal pep talk about the fact that although she’s her mother’s child, she now has her child and has so much more to live for. The other side of it is her talking to her own child and telling her child that their life is just getting started living and to not be as afraid as she was to live their own dream.
This feels like a song for both Cleo Sol as a person and for her child. That regardless of the self-doubt or lack of self-love you might experience in life, there is always someone else that loves and cares about you. It’s a beautiful and heartfelt record that you can’t help but feel in your chest when you hear it.
“But I’ve been here before
Don’t let your loss
Make you scared of changes
They’re with you always”
What an outro! It touches on religious elements but it is very uplifting. Through the pain the world can bring you, love will help you through the curve balls life throw at you. Don’t be afraid of things changing, look to be around those that genuinely love you and you’ll find your way.
You guys, this is an ALBUM. Hip-hop is my thing but I can’t deny that this is just really beautiful music. From start to finish the content, the production and the vocals all shine through. We’re at a point where Cleo Sol is putting everyone on notice as a soul artist in a time where that genre might not be what you look to hear every day. It’s worth your ear and is also worth a top album of 2021 consideration. Thank you for listening to my Ted Talk. I’ll have another one next week.