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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Criticism: Suki Waterhouse’s ‘Milk Teeth’

Milk+Teeth
Via Facebook
Milk Teeth

Rating: 7.5/10

On Friday, Nov. 4, English model, actress and up-and-coming alternative artist Suki Waterhouse released her newest EP,  “Milk Teeth” (2022).  The album, regardless of being a fusion of past and present work, impressively manages to come together in a way that transcends a mere collection of past singles, telling a story and blending Waterhouse’s works together with a silky smooth and bewitching quality of sound. 

The EP, featuring only six tracks — five of which are past singles — is soft, sultry and simultaneously electric. Between Waterhouse’s rich tone, the melancholic acoustics and production that gives several tracks an almost kaleidoscopic effect, “Milk Teeth,” is not only mesmerizing to take in, but also presents listeners with the unique opportunity to hear Waterhouse’s previously fragmented works in a comprehensive and complete collection. 

Beginning appropriately with her brand new opening track, Waterhouse ignites the fire that is “Neon Signs.” With stylistic qualities that — in the most bizarre but best way possible — sound like a synthesis of Hole and Lana Del Ray, “Neon Signs” impressively blends screeching sounds of chaos, delusion and misdirection, making this cathartic release of a track open to several different interpretations. It also highlights Waterhouse’s upper register, a quality that is only as distinct again on the EP’s fourth track, “Johanna.”

“Johanna” is arguably one of the biggest standouts on the album. While it was originally released by Waterhouse in 2019 as a single, “Milk Teeth” appears to have provided it with the much-needed insulation of an album track, giving the song a fuller and more meaningful effect in terms of storytelling. Utilizing her previously mentioned upper register, Waterhouse creates an effect that is comparable to a whine, resonating perfectly with the track’s themes of yearning, desire and frustration, all of which are clouded by a sense of inescapable lust. 

Contrasting this sense of rampant pining is the EP’s next biggest standout and final track, “Brutally.” Originally released in 2016 as Waterhouse’s debut single, “Brutally” offers a maturity and tone that is rare among novice and experienced songwriters alike, making it impressive in terms of both her early and current career. Creating the simple but somber quality of a general aching, Waterhouse beautifully comments on failed relationships, the unknown and the low-level barbarity that accompanies a long line of heartbreaks, making it the perfect finale to the mosaic that is “Milk Teeth.”  

The only three tracks on the EP that I have yet to mention, “Valentine,” “Good Looking” and “Coolest Place in the World,” are — in terms of both style and subject matter — the most similar. This is with the exclusion of one small factor, however: commercial success. While “Valentine” and “Coolest Place in the World” received fairly little recognition as singles back in 2018 and 2019, “Good Looking,” is easily Waterhouse’s biggest mainstream hit, receiving over 90 million streams on Spotify and becoming a viral success on TikTok in early 2022. 

Despite having the viral factor that might make it automatically more attractive to some, “Good Looking” stands on its own as a successful ballad, offering a hypnotic and soothing yet psychedelic quality that provides justification as to just how a song could achieve such sweeping virality almost five years after its original release. 

In a project that further solidifies Waterhouse’s immense talent as both a vocalist and songwriter, “Milk Teeth” is a stunning tribute to her early work, as well as an indicator of what’s to come for what’s to come for this gifted new artist. 

Regardless of consisting primarily of already existing tracks, “Milk Teeth” presents some of Waterhouse’s most absorbing songs in a manner that is cohesive, complete, and worthy of its release. 

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