Since her breakout album Sprinter was released in 2015, Torres has been perceived as a controversial, captivating artist. Her music leaves the listener with an uneasy feeling, as one song of hers combines the kind of minimalistic music featured on works by the likes of the xx, with dark, eerie lyrics that resonate with one’s deepest darkest thoughts. Torres deals with music as a form of art that need not be analyzed and explained, but simply felt in the present – leaving you with pure, honest emotion.
Her new album, Three Futures, does not disappoint. The very title of the album is perhaps a surrealist ode, in that the record does not have a definite beginning, middle, and end, and encourages the listener to explore their intellectual and emotional depths. This idea is emphasized on Three Futures, the third song, after which the album was named – signaling its importance to the artist.
Before that, however, the listener experiences two songs, both containing the paradoxical mix of innocent, downtempo melodies combined with very realistic lyrics that instill within you a mix of sensations that leave you looking at the world in a melancholy sensory overload. In her NPR special that walks the listener through each song, she does reference the startling feeling she tries to convey in her album when she talks about her first song: Tongue Slap Your Brains Out. She compares the song to something that tastes good, “so good it’ll make your tongue slap your brain out.” The song serves as an introductory track that sets the mood for the whole album, and prepares us for the emotional journey we are about to embark on.
The title track is an emotional peak for the album, as it describes a story of an emotionally-abusive love affair that comes to an end. As she sings, the love affair began as a surprise, “in the parking lot of a Masonic Lodge.” It was all fun and games until the straining realities of the relationship settled in, and her lover let their guard down – forcing her to leave. Her incorporation of modern details such as “the TV room,” give the song a dark vibe, as it sets the scene in an unpleasantly familiar place, and therefore relates to the listener.
Three Futures takes on various aspects of Torres’ life, including her relationship to desire, which she explores in Righteous Woman. In this very figurative song, she refers to a “panopticon” as a source of power, and explores the relationship between self-control and giving in, and what that entails when you are a woman. The record finally culminates with a song that captures the essence of what she is trying to convey: To Be Given A Body. She describes it as a “kind of hymn” where she explores the wonder of being given a body, and being able to experience the universe and to do whatever you want.
The album definitely consists of three, if not arguably more futures. Torres once again proves that she is a multi-faceted singer and performer, who is not afraid to explore the multiple aspects of her life, including her relationships, her fantasies, and her very existence. Three Futures is indeed a strong follow-up to Sprinter, and places Torres among fearless artists who use art as a medium for honest emotion – sometimes causing melancholy, while also leaving us hopeful.