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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
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Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Incoming journalism professors Mariano Castillo and Flora Charner sit with former student and Battalion staff member Ken Sury at the FJSA Hall of Fame reception ceremony held in the J. Wayne Stark Galleries in the Memorial Student Center on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Ana Renfroe and Stacy Cox April 19, 2024

At a ceremony honoring Aggie journalists, Texas A&M announced it will welcome three new journalism professors in the fall. New hires will...

Sophomore DB Jacoby Mattews (2) and sophomore DB Sam McCall (16) attempt to stop LSU WR Malik Nabers during Texas A&Ms game against LSU on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023 at Tiger Stadium (Katelynn Ivy/The Battalion)
2024 NFL Draft: Ranking every first round-graded pass catcher
Mathias Cubillan, Sports Writer • April 22, 2024

As NFL defenses have found ways to stifle scoring opportunities and keep the lid on big plays, a bigger burden falls on the pass catchers for...

Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
Orchestrating a century-old tradition
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor • April 18, 2024

As Muster approaches, the Aggie Muster Committee works to organize a now century-old tradition. These students “coordinate every facet” of...

Texas A&M professor Dr. Christina Belanger teaches her Geology 314 class on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, in the Halbouty Geosciences Building. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Opinion: Stop beating the dead [virtual] horse
Eddie Phillips, Opinion Writer • April 22, 2024

Snow days were my favorite days of grade school. I would wake up extra early to stand in my living room to peer through the glass toward the...

Criticism: Faye Webster’s ‘Underdressed at the Symphony’

Art Critic Emma Ehle says the album is both beautifully understated and slightly underwhelming
Art Critic Emma Ehle says Faye Webster’s “Underdressed at the Symphony” is both beautifully understated and slightly underwhelming. (Photo via Paul Hudson/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 DEED)

On Friday, March 1, indie folk sweetheart Faye Webster released her long anticipated fifth studio album, titled “Underdressed at the Symphony.”

An understated yet intricate project following her 2022 EP “Car Therapy Sessions,” 2021 studio album “I Know I’m Funny Haha” and 2019 breakthrough project “Atlanta Millionaires Club,” “Underdressed” does not stray from Webster’s classic jazzy drawl set to experimental, genre-bending sounds. It’s a beautifully produced and sonically complex album, reflecting the 26-year-old Georgia native’s roots in both R&B and alt-country. It also, however, is not particularly memorable.

“Underdressed,” to me, is 37 minutes of easy-listening music. It is soft, slow and feels a more contemporary version of the dreamy, singer-songwriter ballads that my mother would’ve played around the house when I was a child. To put it plainly, it translates like very beautiful background music. My chief complaint, however, is that you cannot have an entire album of background music. 

While “Underdressed” is not without its nuance both lyrically and sonically, it’s also slightly repetitive, with several of the album’s tracks feeling a bit like a lost loop of mellow instrumentals and redundant, cyclical lyrics. This is seen most clearly through tracks “Lifetime,” “Tttttime” and “He Loves Me Yeah!” — which appears to be a slight nod to the Beatles’ classic “She Loves You.” 

While I’m not lost on the power that a repetitive lyric can hold — with Phoebe Bridgers’ “Waiting Room” and Boygenius’ “Not Strong Enough” existing at the forefront of songs that could send me into a downwards spiral at the drop of a hat — it’s paramount that repetitive lyrics pack a punch. Webster’s lyrics, in these specific tracks, do not achieve this.

In its stronger moments, “Underdressed” yields vulnerable lyricism, eccentric instrumentals and seamless slips between the seams of R&B, jazz, classical and country music. Several of the album’s most striking tracks include “Underdressed at the Symphony,” “Lego Ring” (featuring  Webster’s childhood friend Lil Yachty) and previous single, “But not Kiss,” which contrasts the subtle, smooth backdrop of the rest of the album. 

Ultimately, in reiterating the distinctive “easy-listening” sound achieved by “Underdressed”’s mellow beats and soulful sound, the project is, overall, slightly underwhelming. While it’s not by any means a bad album — with Webster’s stunning vocals and unique genre-play quickly eliminating that possibility — it’s also not a project that will leave a lasting impression.

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