Sofia Valdés, just 20 years old, is a must-listen for anyone into the Phoebe Bridgers/folklore/Billie Eilish/Olivia Rodrigo musical universe. In short, that means anyone into sad stuff that sounds comforting and beautiful but cuts deep and puts words and higher meaning to your inner melancholy.
Valdés, born in Panama and schooled in both the U.S. and U.K., puts a refreshing twist on sad girl pop, though. Her new track ‘Lonely,’ for example, her newest release, sends me in a business class seat on a bullet train to my feels; but I don’t feel despairingly sad when listening.
February, March, what’s the catch?
It’s been dragging us through the water to face the fact
That I’m leaving on Sunday at 2 PM
And I might never see you laughing again
That’s because Valdés’s sound doesn’t pirouette dejectedly like a Bridgers’ song might (let me be clear that ‘pirouetting dejectedly’ is an art, I am very much complimenting Phoebe here). It’s not quite as bleak or understated as Clairo, either (again, saying it complimentarily, trying to make a comparison). Something sunny and bright swells in Valdés’s acoustics, I’m not sure what. There’s a glimmer of romance to it.
She glows strongest on ‘Little Did I Know,’ the first single she’s ever released. (She’s only actually released four singles to date, and one is a mesmerizing cover of Gwen Stefani and Akon’s ‘Sweet Escape.’)
Listening to it makes me think, you know what? Maybe I do have the patience to meditate. Maybe I could just sit here, her voice flowing around me, the guitar feeding my mind, and think for awhile. Or not think at all! It’s similar to the way ‘Slow Burn’ by Kacey Musgraves makes me feel. Give it a listen: