Your listening guide for Soccer Mommy’s ‘color theory’

Immerse in all your wildest indie dreams to the sound of Soccer Mommy’s newest album with my track-by-track suggestions

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Soccer Mommy singer-songwriter Sophie Allison performing live at Rockaway Beach in 2018.

Courtesy Paul Hudson

They say set and setting are more important than anything. Mostly this is said about experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs, but I’m a firm believer in giving brand new albums the right space to resonate for the highest listening experience possible. I’m obsessed with places and the radical power of a song to propel the meaning of a mundane Walmart trip or CVS run into something totally romantic. I mean, we’re leaving February behind — and some of us only picked up a cold in the dreariness of Valentine season — so why should we drop the emotional facade of an aromantic life? Why not continue to bathe in the romance of eyeing strangers? Our stomachs won’t stop swirling at the notion of a new lover while we’re buying NyQuil just because it’s March — ugh, that CVS cashier really had it going on. 

If this all sounds abstract — or like a pamphlet for a singles mixer you don’t want to try — allow me to elaborate. I’m merely suggesting you let this album spice your life to be all the more lusty, angsty and emotionally barred. Not to be dramatic or anything, but let these songs full of darkness and simultaneous sensuality pour over you like a barrel of rose water seeped with petals and thorns. Is that over the top? Probably.

Soccer Mommy’s singer-songwriter Sophie Allison — who dropped new album ‘color theory’ on Feb. 28 — would almost certainly approve. The title of her newest album and its included songs are all spelled out in all lowercase letters, a flair reminiscent of how cool people text. It just reads as being far more chilled. So even if Soccer Mommy’s music is detailing the realities of mental illness and the turmoil of love, Allison is also being deliberately lax about it all. You can hear this from the first few notes of “bloodstream,” the album’s opening track. A winding lick from the guitar is all that’s heard for the first twenty seconds. She admits on “royal screw up,” “I am fake it till you make it in a can / And you have a calmness / That I could never understand.” Like her mothers of indie-rock before her — Liz Phair, Mazzy Star, the Breeders  — Allison spends a lot of time self-analyzing in song, and the result is a revealing sense of truth. Let’s get to listening. 

“bloodstream”

This is one to be listened to through headphones in a park of your choosing, preferably while you’re walking. Make sure you’ve got a good, big scarf to nestle your face in against the March wind, especially when the coldness of the chorus starts — “What did you have that I didn’t? / and why am I so blue?” 

“circle the drain”

This one is meant to be played aloud in your bathroom after a bad house-show experience, preferably at around 3 a.m. — and there’s a little residue from someone’s beer in your hair. It’s a melancholy tune and feels good to listen while too frustrated with disappointment, because, “Things feel that low sometimes / even when everything is fine.” 

“royal screw up”

The most unplugged song on the album should be listened to from your best friend’s car, preferably with your feet up on the dash. You should be driving back from getting fast food after a long, long day. Sip the straw of your fountain drink and be tender and sweet to your friend behind the wheel. 

“night swimming”

Save this one for spring break. Play it from your phone’s speaker during a night on a beach — if you can get to one. Go swimming after if the water isn’t too cold. Do that thing you did in middle school where you write the name of your crush in the sand, and let it go into the waves so that you two come true. 

“crawling in my skin”

Be careful with this one. It deals with the paralyzing nature of mental illness, so be tender and safe with yourself if the lyrics are just too real. Find a tree to sit against and a good jacket to rest on against the bark so you’ll feel grounded next to such a big, old creature. 

“yellow is the color of her eyes”

Listen to this one to after you see your crush in a disappointing context — like maybe your face is puffy, or that February cold has got your nose unflatteringly runny. Hit play with your headphones in and walk into CVS for some cherry nailpolish. Pick a color with a name like “My chihuahua bites!” Paint them — you’re giving yourself a beautiful ritual. 

“up the walls”

Listen while laying on your stomach, phone in hand, Instagram open to your old high school fling’s account. Preferably you’re not really over them yet, or thought you were, but you’re on a picture where they look ridiculously hot and you’re making a bigger deal out of the flirtation in your head, aided by the lyrics of “‘Cause no one's really known me like you did when we were young / our love was our everything, everything you want.” 

“lucy” 

Listen with a mascara wand in hand, singing the lyrics to your reflection before the function. Have it on repeat, make sure the lighting is just perfect for adoring your sensual self. Wiggle and dance until your character for the night is all temptress, humbled and hot as someone Soccer Mommy would write songs about. 

“stain” 

Do laundry to this one. Wash those clothes at the bottom of your hamper you haven’t washed since winter break. Use stain-remover for the tough, dried-on stains. Handle them gently, and you’ll feel lighter for taking care of such a dooming task. You deserve the extra fabric softener. Don’t underestimate how delicious clean clothes feel.

“gray light”

Listen to this one loud while sitting alone in your car on a day where everything feels down — preferably when it’s raining — and really listen. Watch the motion of the windshield wipers, and let yourself drown into a low mood. Then find your way to a cup of warm tea at a friend’s table. Let them pick you up.

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