Think of a record that you’d consider to be your ‘comfort album’. This can be represented in a magnitude of different ways; perhaps it could be a collection of songs from your childhood that you have a special connection to or a record you find yourself attracted to any time you feel a certain emotion. Regardless, I would assume that I’m not alone and most music fans have a retainer of albums that will always be important for some reason. For the longest time, I focused primarily on fast-paced and aggressive music to potentially satisfy my anxious and caffeinated brain. However, I’ve recently found that I find comfort when I slow down and let the music envelop me in a warm embrace.
This new perspective has led me to find solace in Chiiild‘s debut full-length, Hope For Sale. Upfront, I have to admit I hadn’t ever heard of Chiiild before diving into this record, and I simply chose to listen after all the kind words that the album has received. This is a perfect example of why I love discovering new music; I was so pleasantly surprised to go from never knowing the artist’s name to listening to Hope For Sale on repeat for days. No matter the activity, whether driving, hanging out at home, or even mowing the grass, the album made me feel relief from the stresses in the world around us.
From the very first track, “Sleepwalking”, it’s clear that Chiiild has a comprehensive understanding of irresistible melody and compelling grooves. The song is a fantastic opener, holding traits of a calmer mood while being upbeat enough to get the listener excited. The instrumentation and layers make the dynamics even more diverse and exciting, inevitably creating a track with motion that grows as it continues. The song moves nicely into the atmospheric and psychedelic “Hold On Till We Get There”, which manages to feel barren and extremely full at the same time. The juxtaposition is supported by constantly changing instruments that make the song an extremely pleasing and engrossing experience.
While I’m normally attracted to songs that have a quicker pace, I think the slower jams on Hope For Sale are some of the most effective. “Weightless” fits the title superbly, as the musicality makes you feel like you’re floating comfortably on a cloud. The song is peaceful and warm, and it reminds me greatly of recent Childish Gambino and Leon Bridges records. In addition, “Eventually” takes on a laid-back and funky tone that also continues the psychedelic approach heard previously in “Hold On Till We Get There”. The versatility between each song keeps the experience spellbinding, but there are fortunately no moments that feel out of place.
My favorite track on the album is one of the album’s singles, “Gone”. Interestingly enough, there are two different versions of the song on the record, and both are equally fantastic and stylistically distinct. The original track is subdued with a heavenly chorus melody and smooth feel, while the remix is more upbeat and includes a new verse and harmony from the artist Jensen McRae. Despite the contrasting nature of the approaches to the song, I’m glad both are included on the record. They both flawlessly capture the spirit of Hope For Sale, and I believe they both stand out as some of the best music on the album.
Hope For Sale is the perfect length for a pop record. Although I obviously want more, the 31-minute runtime is ideal, delivering no noticeable points where the music lulls. I think a lot of art pop records tend to try to pack in as much content as possible, but Chiiild allows for each of the eleven tracks to be up to the quality of the others. Even some of the shorter songs, like “Lotus” and “Wasting Time”, still pack an incredible amount of musicality and emotion. The lack of filler tracks definitely helps with my enjoyment each time I’ve put the record on during the last couple of days.
I hope my words have convinced you to give this record your full attention, and I recommend you find the time to lay back, close your eyes, and let Hope For Sale ease you into tranquility with the beauty it possesses. Based on my love for this debut, I genuinely believe I will continue to follow Chiiild‘s future endeavors, and I expect to keep this enchanting album in my rotation for a very long time. Hope For Sale gave me comfort in a time I needed it most, and I hope it can do the same for those of you that need that feeling of consolation as well.