Album Review: Claude – a lot’s gonna change

[American Dreams; 2022]

In your 20s you’re supposed to do everything – or at least it can feel that way. Go to college/university, graduate, fall in line with a new job, find someone to spend the rest of your life with; before you hit your 30s, society is urging you to settle down. It makes sense that the 20-somethings of the world need an outlet to process all the expectations and dumpster fire of a world they have to exist in. 

That’s what a lot’s gonna change is for Claudia Ferme. On her debut album under her Claude moniker, she offers “a snapshot of my early-to-mid twenties — formative, sometimes confusing years.” Its lyrical subjects are familiar to anyone who has lived the years she’s capturing: love, depression, and anxiety rear their heads throughout the eight tracks on the album, often like a looming dark cloud that follows you on an overcast day. Though her music has a quietly vibrant pop edge at times, it glows like a ‘no vacancy’ sign, urging you to keep your distance. 

On “i think i’ll pass today”, a mellow and almost colourless hum of synths and horns carry Ferme through a depressive state. “And I’m not really paying any attention / To the stories that you’re telling / But you can try to get through to me / If you talk enough, a lot, maybe,” she details with an appropriately pallid tone. Similarly “roses” portrays a dejected manner (“Guess I was wrong / For believing / I was doing the best I could”), while on “turn” she’s looking for simple distraction with another person and their body (“You’ll forget me / I’ll forget you / In a short time”). 

This is an album with the camera turned inwards. Rarely does Ferme point it outwards to the world, instead focussing on the place she is existing at any given moment. She’s panicking about the party outside her door on the glowing “claustrophobia”, wanting to meet a friend at a familiar haunt on the dreary piano-led “meet me”, and escaping to her car to scream on “oh, to be”. Building on her 2021 self-released Enactor EP, Ferme builds a world that feels more fully formed and contained this time round. While Enactor felt like a mission statement, a lot’s gonna change is more like a personal diary, painting details and forming a fuller, more comprehensive view of Ferme as an individual. 

And, to the album’s benefit, it does it with virtually no excess, allowing the listener’s view to stay focussed on Ferme’s narrative. a lot’s gonna change barely reaches the half hour mark, but by its end it can feel like you’ve spent time with a person who you want to stick around with to make sure they are okay. As she signs off on the more rock-leaning fuzz of “oh, to be” she resigns herself to not knowing all the answers. “Oh, to be / Has never made much sense to me / Oh, to be / I guess it doesn’t really matter,” she concludes suddenly. Depending on how sucked in you get to Ferme’s anxiety and worries, the line can read equally despondent and hopeful. Maybe she’s sinking further into the depressive mindset, but the acknowledgement is clear: in your 20s there’s still a lot to figure out.