LA-based, Santa Barbara-raised singer-songwriter Madeleine Mayi is here to debut her first full-length project, titled (and released on) 2/14. Her most personal project to date, Madeleine’s new album is independently released and explores the emotions and tribulations that come along with the death of a loved one. Similar to the sounds of Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers and Snail Mail, this album is going to especially hit hard for those with conflicting views of the world.
Arriving on Valentine’s Day, a day typically reserved for exorbitant amounts of love and affection, Mayi takes a different approach.
February 14th can serve as a day of recognizing and recovering from personal wounds. In both 2018 and 2019, Madeleine suffered the loss of two loved ones during the week of Valentine’s Day. These losses created a stark contrast between the outside world and Mayi’s inner mental state. That dichotomy of the heart is what led to the creation of 2/14. With each track of the album, an absorbing tale unfolds, documenting the characters’ personal pathways through the multiple stages of mourning and loss. “I think the order [the album’s songs] were written and the order they are in now, reflect what it was really like for me trying to understand what I was feeling at the time,” states Mayi.
The album’s fourth track was the first written for the album; “ITRL” expresses how Mayi was feeling when she was originally struck with denial of said losses. She spent time detailing her feelings about never being able to have those moments she used to share with her loved ones. An intimately slow and simple song, the relative lack of music behind her vocals act more as a complimentary addition to the story Madeleine is telling. Beginning with simple electric guitar strumming, the track gradually shifts in real time with the emotions being explored, adding a straightforward drum track and bass line that only enhance the denial being felt.
Moving forward in her emotions, but backwards on the album, the second track “friendly fires” dives into what this grief can do to friendships and how it can put pressure in areas usually spent with ease and comfortability. It opens doors to what it feels like to be utterly broken and unable to keep promises without feeling like you are just dissolving away. However, with a voice as agile as it is soulful, Mayi offers up a wistfully honest bit of hope to conclude the album. The final track “here” is Madeleine learning to come to grips with loss and finding the strength to move on.
‘2/14’ is an understanding that the people you have physically lost are never truly gone.
Mayi shares, “In many ways, this is my most personal project, not only because it’s based on real visceral feelings I had, but because I think it really can mean something to other people. It’s always so important to me to know why I am releasing something. Everyone has experienced loss. Whether it be from a death in their close circles, someone from their school or even the loss of an important relationship. Grief comes from so many places in our lives. My music isn’t sad to be sad. It’s challenging — because life is challenging. This record is not supposed to be a wallowing experience; it’s supposed to hurt and heal. The last song on the record called “here” is a message from the person that is gone — saying ‘I’ll always be here’. So, this is not just a story about everything being taken away — it’s about what love and hope you can find after losing something.”
In her accession, Mayi is poised to take 2021 by the horns. Listen to her debut album 2/14 and check her out on socials at the links below.
Purchase or stream ‘2/14’ album:
- friendly fires
- for anything
- love me
Cover photo by Sophie Gragg
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.