by Staff Writer Mingxin Wang
Lauv’s debut album, ~how i’m feeling~, is an exploration of the colorful spectrum of human nature. The album finds Lauv grappling with contrasting sides of his identity, as mentioned on his Instagram — the hopeless romantic, the existentialist, the class clown, the f***boy, the spicy boy, and Mr. Positive — in a culmination of 21 tracks released on March 6. Authentic and emotional, ~how i’m feeling~ perfectly portrays Lauv’s struggles with self-doubt, depression, and heartbreak in the age of social media.
~how i’m feeling~, released two years after Lauv’s debut compilation album, I Met You When I Was 18, features tracks with a distinctly unique sound from its predecessor. While I Met You When I Was 18 focused on Lauv’s experiences with heartbreak and loss, ~how i’m feeling~ embraces each and every part of his identity.
album cover for ~how i’m feeling~
~how i’m feeling~ is an electropop album suitable for endless daydreaming. Tracks like “f***, i’m lonely” and “i’m so tired…” feature clicking synths and bouncing acoustic guitar chords with catchy choruses that set the tone of a stereotypical pop record. However, with a closer look, many of his solo tracks provide greater insight into how not only Lauv, but the generation he speaks to, is feeling. In “Sad Forever,” he whispers, “Cause lately, I’ve been in the backseat to my own life / Trying to take control, but I don’t know how to,” before frantically blurting how he doesn’t want to be sad anymore. The words themselves are impactful, but Lauv sings them in a style that communicates exactly how heavily this burden weighs on him.
Backing up Lauv’s vulnerable lyrics and unadulterated emotions are his distinctive instrumentals, which blend together colorful synths and piano melodies. ~how i’m feeling~ is a perfect juxtaposition between lighthearted instrumentals, raw vocals, and poignant lyrics. The exposed vocals and subtle accompaniment highlight Lauv’s tremendous growth since his quarter-life crisis. In “f*** i’m lonely,” Lauv sings, “I don’t know / I don’t know / How I’m gonna make it out,” and later sings in “Billy,” “To all the people that were mean / He just channeled your energy / To all the people that believed / He just channeled your energy” to symbolize how far he’s progressed since then.
However, one flaw is present — an outlier Latin track, “El Tejano,” sung with Sofia Reyes about falling in love with a girl at a Mexican restaurant. In comparison to the deeper intentions behind his other songs and their softer melodies, the loud, distinct drums from “El Tejano” contrast sharply with the other tracks, disrupting an otherwise cohesive album.
With ~how i’m feeling~, Lauv tells a thematically brilliant story of his journey to finding self-expression and self-acceptance. Through his intricate lyrics and quiet instrumentals, Lauv’s refreshingly open conversations about his past emotional distress ultimately leaves listeners with a powerful message of optimism and confidence.