The translation from feelings to art may get lost in the process, but for Natalie Green the Los Angeles artist makes it a point to be direct with his 7-track album Natalie Green is my Lover. The raw and DIY strokes that construct the album tell a specific story through honest thoughts, experimental mixes, and a rooted indie sound. Ultimately, Natalie Green is my Lover are simple snapshots of the reasons why Natalie Green is a lover — playing on the masked name of the artist and a possible additional character — followed by the transitional limbo of time and heartbreak. The compilation of tracks becomes a mix-tape that you pass out to your crush hoping they picked up on the indirect narrative; a shinning element that Natalie Green seems to project so well.
Opening through a bonus pre-interlude, “Genesee” smoothly flows into the album’s defining track, “June.” The four minute proposed moment of time to the half mark of a year is one of the most honest assortment of sounds on the album. Cleverly setting the scene with a phone conversation over a sweet, looped guitar, the voice on the receiving end asks, “What’s going on?” The hesitant answer of “uh” followed by a muddled and inaudible response, almost sounding as skipping tracks through the memory bank, truly explain the moment in time where one is completely lost. The story continues as the voice asks, “What is the plan Albert?”, and to no surprise, a nervous laugh responds with “I’m figuring stuff out.” The most humanesque qualities are expressed within the first minute as the lo-fi vocals explain the skipped explanations noting how “June” would not be what is is without this narrative.
“Beachwood” picks up on the surf and carefree qualities that exude Southern California and is a well placed vibration in-between the heaviness that continues on the album with “Orange” and “2nd Street.” Versatility runs through “Orange” as the amount of vocal effects are minimized and an electronic, slow dreamy environment is weaved. An additional piece of the puzzle is brought to life as the song confesses the lack of opening up and the repetitive line, “Until I get this right / don’t hate me.” Where “June” started, “2nd Street” picks up the leftover emotion as the opening lines softly states, “Mama / I should be calling you / with news that is good”, referencing the distressed call previously heard. An overall feeling of “worthlessness” and mentions as a “failure” echo over the tracks’s letter-styled structure and experimental blend. As the track bleeds to the end, a simple backing beat holds the rest of the lines that make way for the next track, “Coldwater Canyon.” Isolating the mention in “2nd Street”, “Coldwater Canyon” extracts the burning of wishful flight thought it’s instrumental bliss.
Finally, wrapping the emotive winding album, “Affamé” is a minute haunt that transmits it’s underlying question, “Where do days end?” The line is sampled repetitively over an almost post-emocore sound and progressive guitar chords. Few blends of the indie-electronica peaks heard throughout the album are thrown on the outerlude for a mere second, cleanly closing the chapter on Natalie Green is my Lover. Still fearing opening up, hiding behind the name Natalie Green, the artist’s honesty is admirable. While so many may feel the same, not all have the courage to display it. Natalie Green is the alter-ego of any human’s fear, and possibly loving Green is the first step in loving yourself. Simple, raw and admirable – Natalie Green is my Lover is worth the listen for it’s relatability; being lost, being in love, and simply trying to be.