Review: Madison Beer’s Debut Album 'Life Support'
Life Support is the 17 track debut studio album from American singer Madison Beer, released on the 26th of February 2021. The 21-year-old burst into the spotlight back in 2012 when Justin Bieber posted the link to one of her covers on YouTube. Since then, she has released EP’s and singles, but it was the songs from her debut album that gained her the attention she had been working towards for so long.
For Madison Beer, the road to a debut album has been long and winding. She signed with Island Records in 2012 but decided to split from the label in 2016 because of creative differences. She released her EP As She Pleases without a label backing her, in order to put a feel out for what she wanted her music to be, and then later signed with Epic Records and began work on the debut album she had longed to share with the world.
With ethereal vibes from the offset and a variety of songs from ballads to upbeat pop, Life Support caters to all tastes in music. Beer’s music pays homage to her many artistic influences, such as Lana Del Rey and Daft Punk. The vocal range she displays is phenomenal and similar to that of Ariana Grande, especially in track five, Effortlessly. Her lyricism has evolved significantly as she continues to grow and open up about her feelings, and this album displays the mental health struggles she is beginning to confront.
Although Beer has shown her authentic vocal abilities many times, she is clearly a fan of voice effects, as many songs include elements of auto-tune that can sometimes cast doubt on her ability to sing a whole song with her real unaffected voice. Unsurprising as she is such a big fan of Daft Punk, who she references often. The most notable vocally affected song is Homesick, an ode to her favourite show Rick and Morty. Beer has spoken out plenty of times about feeling like she doesn’t belong on this planet, and how space seems to make more sense to her.
Life Support was a sort of therapy for Beer, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder whilst writing the album. She had also suffered a breakup during that time, and the album depicts the struggles she had gone through beautifully. Lyrically excelling anything written by Beer in the past, the music in this album is real and demonstrates the process the young singer underwent while trying to process her mental illness.
Beer’s album is set out almost like a live theatrical performance, with an introductory piece called The Beginning, an interlude and even a song at the end of the album titled Channel Surfing/ The End in which she pieced together segments of audio from her time creating the album. Life Support is effectively split into two acts, before the interlude Beer’s music focuses more on her own mental health and suicidal thoughts, whereas after the interlude the focus shifts to her relationships and the effects they have had on her. In my opinion, listening to the album in the order Beer intended is integral to the experience if you want to understand her thought process.
The standout singles of the album are two strong ballads, Selfish and Stained Glass. Both songs showcase Beer’s emotional range as she dives into exploring her mental wellbeing and her relationship with others as well as herself. She is honest about previous relationships and the effect they have had on her, which is sure to resonate with people across the globe. She also addresses the effects that the media have had on her mental health. It is a perfect first album for the singer who has been under the microscope since she was only 13 years old.
In contrast to the emotional ballads, Beer’s other two singles from the album bring an upbeat break from other more sentimental songs. Good in Goodbye and Boyshit are the breakup anthems of the album, serving bundles of female empowerment. Good in Goodbye is full of play on words and clever lyrics that showcase Beer’s talent phenomenally, it’s clear she has spent a lot of time honing those skills. These singles are the type of track women will sing at the top of their lungs after a messy breakup, surely the way Beer intended it.
Although the album is at times effect heavy with Beer’s vocals, the lyricism and emotional range displayed in this album are exceptional. People are certain to identify with the numerous songs about struggling through mental health problems and difficult relationships, whilst enjoying authentic, melodic pop music. Madison Beer has hit the nail on the head with her first studio album, a lyrical masterpiece and enchanting piece of artistry.