Katie Crutchfield is Waxahatchee, a lo-fi pop, Tumblr-darling from Alabama, whose curious name is after a creek adjacent to her hometown. From her whispered, sleeper hit American Weekend, to the gripping and emotional narrative of Cerulean Salt, Crutchfield knows how to tell a story.
Ivy Tripp is Crutchfield’s third Waxahatchee album, and is based off a term she invented to substitute for a lack of direction. She no longer feels timid and hesitant—Ivy Tripp is a celebration of confidence, acceptance, and the process of moving on; the album’s crisp sound helps add to her optimistic clarity and happy atmosphere.
In a press release, Crutchfield said, “[Ivy Tripp is] just being cognizant in moments of deep confusion or sadness, and learning to really feel emotions and grow from that.”
The record opens with the song “Breathless,” showcasing Crutchfield’s adept ability at composing solemn, self-critical songs. The keyboard, perhaps, is an homage to the lo-fi heartbreaker “Noccalua” from American Weekend. The distinction between the two is that now Crutchfield has perfected the studio-polished sound of her own music.
Cerulean Salt felt a little uneasy in its production and sound; it removed the personal feel that made Waxahatchee’s music vulnerable. Some musicians make the mistake of allowing grainy, amateur recording to become a part of their musical aesthetic. Waxahatchee tip-toed around this point, choosing to step back and perfect the individual sound before moving forward. “Breathless” demonstrates the return to more reflective, intimate pieces that Crutchfield does best.
Ivy Tripp is a fully realized version of Waxahatchee. The polished, shiny facets represent the parts of Crutchfield’s personality that have grown and changed over time.
Crutchfield has a talent for capturing the hesitant, tentative quality sometimes present throughout our 20s. Ivy Tripp sounds like an uncertain graduate feeling empty without classes to attend, a community college bound high schooler watching distant classmates move onto prestigious universities, or a bratty toddler running away from home for the first time. Trial and repeated error is a major theme of Crutchfield’s music.
An album about failure is expected to be downcast. Other online-famous bands such as Pill Friends, Starry Cat, and Crutchfield’s former project P.S. Eliot, perfected bummer-pop. On the Internet, especially in this Tumblr subgenre, it is expected that sad people make even sadder music. However, Crutchfield manages to convey the same bleak emotions felt while creating upbeat, introspective pop music. It’s innovative and new—Waxahatchee discusses the darkest subjects with a joyous sound.
Confidence develops internally and organically—it can’t be spurred by any particular moment or person. Regardless, there are moments when someone might reach out to us and we allow ourselves to be feel better. Flaws are what make us sympathetic, relatable, and ultimately, lovable. Ivy Tripp is like a warm cup of tea, a cigarette, or a warm hug from a friend; Crutchfield can’t immediately make listeners feel better, but with Ivy Tripp, she will give it her best shot.
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp tracklist:
- “Under a Rock”
- “La Loose”
- “Stale by Noon”
- “The Dirt”
- “Grey Hair”
- “Summer of Love”
- “Half Moon”