by Gael Granados
My first taste of Indigo De Souza came on a random Friday night, when I was filled with teenage angst and an aching desire for a classic heartthrob romance song that I couldn’t get over. As soon as the first chords of De Souza’s song “Take Off Ur Pants” played, was in a trance. With a grungy flair, DeSouza sings of the reality that love isn’t as easy as people makes it seem.
I was hooked from that first song, and I wanted more. De Souza’s most recent album, “Any Shape You Take” is just 38 minutes long. It’s a 10 song collection of R&B inspired indie rock getting to the heart of the gruesome intricacies of loving someone so much, you’d let them do anything to you.
The album opens with “17,” a mellow and robotic pull into the energy of the album. The lyrics are sung softly and edited in a way that presents comfort, until De Souza begins to sing “Now that the baby is gone / This is the way I’m going to bend,” which emits unsettling energy into the space previously filled with static serenity. This kind of musical subversion colors the rest of the album.
The song “Die/Cry opens up with the same softness. The echoes of rock are there in the background, but the song is pushed by De Souza’s desperation in her voice. She seems to be asking her partner questions, but it eventually becomes clear that she’s not the same person she was before she met this person. Still, De Souza is able to admit that “I’d rather die than see you cry”, a heartbreaking line acting as the chorus. The song ends just as lovingly (yet destructively) as she screams, “I wanna die before you die.”
The album ends with the song “Kill Me,” accompanied by the heavy and rough voice present in other De Souza songs. At this point in the album, De Souza has done so much to confess her love for the subject that it almost feels natural for her to finally ask the subject of her longing to kill her. De Souza realizes the distance she have from her love, which leads to this confession that she’d prefer to be dead by the subject’s hand, admitting she saw the discomfort in the relationship.
Part of De Souza’s strength as an artist comes from the taboo ways love and all its woes are described in tandem with the vocal tones De Souza allows herself to explore. In this world of variance and absurdities (see the music video gor “Kill Me,” where people smother themselves in cake on a stage labeled “custody battle”), listeners may feel overwhelmed with this variance. Her voice, while ear-catching, can go from soft to harsh between songs which may make those looking for consistency or a specific voice the same as her other songs a bit put off. But this is the true mark of her artistry: De Souza offers a variety of different self expressions.
“Any Shape You Take” feels like a breath of fresh air, while still carrying the tumultuous feelings that come with young love. De Souza takes the concerns of any young love and amplifies them to dissect the insecurities and issues that can seem inescapable for a teen. In this world, where I am mixed up in the cacophony of exploring human love, Indigo De Souza offers a comfort alongside a catchy beat and painfully beautiful lyricism.