When Sarah Krohn was 14, she dreamt up a musical project so ambitious it would make Stephin Merrit turn his head.
“I wrote 81 songs about one person in eighth grade. It was way before I knew how to record and produce my music, but I always felt like they were a part of who I was. I always knew I wanted to release them.”
Fast forward four years, and the Ohio-based singer-songwriter has narrowed down the list on her exquisite debut album “81.” Throughout, Sarah Krohn weaves glistening electronic flourishes into folk arrangements, recalling the ethereal beauty of Phoebe Bridger’s Stranger In the Alps and Aldous Harding’s Party. Lyrically, the album is a masterpiece of love poetry which captures the essence of unadulterated, indomitable teenage affection.
On the iridescent folk opener, “Stardust,”she playfully “spins around in circles around her room,” imagining her next encounter with the boy next door. On the sparse piano ballad “In My Mind,” Krohn reconciles her love fantasy with reality, singing “I made up images of you in my mind / They were the perfect thing I wanted, but that’s not you.”
The standout track is “I Miss You,” a powerhouse indie rock anthem dedicated to the sensation most of us felt when we finally said-or thought- goodbye to our middle school crushes.
“I miss you– It’s a simple concept that everyone experiences,” said Sarah Krohn. “While a lot of the songs are personal and subtle, ‘I miss you’ is definitely more accessible.”
While the track is universal in its appeal, it is also a technical and lyrical achievement. Krohn’s sunshower of a voice soars over glittering synthesizers and country-tinged guitars, bringing warmth and light to a song about loss. Even as she describes feelings of hopelessness and confusion, it’s hard not to focus on the depth of her affection.
When she switches to the present tense in the chorus, singing “how you call me darling / how you call me love” and the spectacular line “how you smile through your words,” for a brief moment I believe Sarah’s longing is the most powerful feeling in the world. Through sheer conviction I believe she can bring him back.
But then the chorus ends, the drums slow, and the backing choruses fade, and once again she is left with her memories.
Krohn’s new album, and its extraordinary single “I Miss You,” are available on all major streaming platforms. She can also be found on Youtube, where she performs original songs, covers, and breaks down the production process of 81.
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Find Sarah’s song ‘Stardust’ on our Folky Females playlist!