Since the turn of the Century, Canada has produced some of the finest female singer-songwriters in the business with many achieving success worldwide acclaim. Feist, Basia Bulat, Kathleen Edwards, Hannah Georgas, Coeur de Pirate, and Alessia Cara are just some of the names. This week, when Alexandria Maillot releases her debut album, Time, she will be mentioned alongside some of these well-known artists.
Time, which we are immensely please to premiere today, sounds like an album written by a veteran singer-songwriter. Yet, Maillot is only 23-years old, has released two EPs, and acted in a film that starred Amanda Seyfried. Her experiences explain why each song on Time is warm, touching, intimate, personal, and relatable. Or maybe it is the influence of living in the untouched environments of Vancouver Island or the solitude that comes with it that allows Maillot to make beautiful and captivating music in the mould of Bulat and Georgas. The opening track, “Sunday Sara”, for instance, is lush and warm, swelling just at the right moments when Sara experiences something new. “Smitten”, with its low-key, folk-pop approach, feels innocent to perfectly reflect the butterflies that flutter in our stomachs at the sight of a possible flame.
Maillot’s debut, though, is not just another folk-pop record, but instead Maillot shows diversity throughout. “The Floor” is a crushing choral-pop song that would fill any venue. “Do You Want to Tell Me Something” has a Broken Social Scene vibe with its dramatic pop build, and “Lonely Soul” mixes gritty blues-rock with choral-pop melodies akin to some of Elle King’s work.
By the end of the album, you cannot help be impressed by what Maillot has produced. Time represents another huge stepping stone for the young singer-songwriter, who will be recognized as one of Canada’s gifted singer-songwriters. It is just a matter of time.
Time is out on Friday, June 10th. Pre-order the album at iTunes (CAN | US | UK) and Amazon (US | UK). Hear the entire album below in this exclusive stream and read Alexandria’s commentary on each track.
Above photo by AM KR Photography.
Track-by-Track Commentary by Alexandria Maillot
Sunday Sara – I wrote “Sunday Sara” in the middle of the night, kept awake from over-analyzing certain parts of my relationship. A trigger for my anxiety often comes when I feel like I am putting more energy in to something that is not equally reciprocated, whether it be in communication or planning. It’s hard not to feel jaded.
Other Line – There are several themes “Other Line” tackles with the main theme being addiction/mental health. I was listening to a lot of Work songs at the time, and fell in love with the idea of the call-and-response and a song that has so much more depth within it. With that being said, the song has a bit of a chapter-book story attached to it. “The Other Line” is told from the point of view of a Man’s Subconscious, which acts as both spectator and narrator, interweaving conversation with the Man and listener. Throughout the song, the Subconscious is speaking to and alongside the Man, an addict who has decided to end his life. The Man can very faintly hear the Subconscious in the background (“Courage called, she said she wants you back home”), which is making it hard for him to follow through with his decision. The “Other Line” represents the Rope he ties around his neck.
Smitten – I’m pretty sure I have about 3 versions of “Smitten”. It was a tricky one to make sonically genuine and sound true to the initial intent. “Smitten” was written four days after my first and longest relationship ended abruptly. A night out prior led to a bad experience, and on my way home the next morning I was somewhere in my head categorizing all of my emotions. Within my sort of internal craze, I began to daydream how I have always wanted to be treated by a significant other, and how if things were just a little bit different in my past relationship, maybe it would have worked out. “Smitten” was the alternate reality of what could have been, but never was.
Did You Want to tell Me Something? – The story came to be after a rather significant fight, and I picked up my Ukulele with the hope of writing something that said everything I struggled to articulate. It is the hand in the face of every person who has ever disrespected you.
Time (On Your Own) – This was the first song I wrote specifically for the album, which helped sort of conceptualize it. The song was written about a month after an ex-partner re-entered the picture very briefly and left just as quickly as the first exit. This was during my Rock Bottom phase and nearing roughly 3 weeks of a bad bout of anxiety that made leaving the house very stressful/difficult. I was sitting in my bedroom practicing guitar/fiddling with my looper pedal, and the song just sort of happened. Everything I had been dealing up until that point was so consolidated and bottled deep within; I had neglected letting even an ounce of it out. The release was so defining; the vulnerability a fresh, pleasant sting. The idea of time healing all wounds has been something I have always struggled to understand. For years, I have held my parents’ divorce deep down somewhere, yearning for the values you build within your Family-unit (patience, trust, respect). When I was 13, I had a crush on someone who died after I wrote a song about them, and it still sits deep down in a time-capsule that I peek in to occasionally. The idea of time and what it carries with it has always been hard to move past, so this album is a reminder of that.
The Floor – It is not second nature for me to write something without overthinking, partly because I do not know how to write songs that weren’t carved out by a personal experience. This song was written after a long-term relationship and during a budding friendship where boundaries were still being defined. To my limited knowledge of dating, my idea of entering a new relationship was that if things were going well, then that meant that we were good and things were progressing. “The Floor” was essentially written as the analogy of finally finding Rock Bottom. I truly, genuinely thought I knew what Rock Bottom was after feeling complete betrayal and coming out on the other side of an abusive partnership. I never really thought or guessed, however, that it could happen again so quickly with someone who saw me live through my previous relationship and was my rock during the healing. When I wrote this song, I was working 16 hour days and running on 3-4 hours of sleep each night, trying to postpone the inevitable emotional implode by just being so tired that everything felt numb. This song was my Rock Bottom lullaby.
Lonely Soul – I wrote this song after thinking about the different phases/stages one goes through and how our core values evolve as we grow. For instance, as a child, we begin to learn about basic values, i.e. friendship, love. As a teenager, we become more curious, find our sense of humour, begin understanding the importance of self-respect. As an adult, we establish what gives us pleasure, we expand our knowledge, we search for stability. “Lonely Soul” was written from the viewpoint of someone’s search for their own moral compass and what values they are represented by. The specific storyline that sparked the idea was after a night out with a good friend who was engaged at the time, and during our visit together, a character whom I have named “The Drunken Hairstylist” came over and proceeded to hit on my friend – his ring in clear sight. She was someone I recognized from around town and the most peculiar thing about the entire encounter was the fact that my friend, polite and friendly but not overtly flirtatious, did not seem to mind that her hand rested on his leg for the entire conversation. I was left feeling very conflicted over what defines right and wrong. What are boundaries? And, how do we set them without knowing exactly where to set them? So, the song is basically told from the viewpoint of “The Drunken Hairstylist”, and how in her mind, she defines boundaries by constantly overstepping them, the path of destruction just adding to her story arch.
Sans – “Sans” was written and recorded in the studio and was the last song written for Time. All of the songs before it were so concise and preconceived that this song was very refreshing to let unfold in real time. It was a bit of a reflection of the album as a whole and the memories that I am reminded of when I listen to the songs and remember their initial intent. It was sort of the bow tying everything together in a neat and tidy package. “Sans” happens to be one of my personal favourite songs I have written to date, and I am very thankful I gave myself the space and vulnerability in the studio to let it be a thing.
Never Stop – This song represents the naivety one has during the beginning of a relationship. It is very safe to say that saying, “I will love you forever and never stop”, which is something we all feel at on point, but the reality is nothing is infinite. People change, relationships change. A lot changes in 5 years, let alone 25. I like the fact that this song is full of so much conviction; I wish I still had as much optimism as it lets on.
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