Last Tuesday, Pale Waves returned with their newest single Change in the lead up to the release of their second album, Who Am I?
Change is a song that lives up to its title by introducing a shift in the band’s direction. The track is about heartbreak and is a very playable song with an extremely catchy hook that feels both unique and familiar. Change teases at the bands’ versatility, leaning more towards nostalgic pop than the alt/indie sound that characterised their first album. Heather Baron-Gracie (singer and songwriter) has said that Avril Lavigne was a huge influence, not just for this track but for the ‘f-you’ tone of the album as a whole. The sound also nods to more current pop artists, with Pale Waves hinting to NME last year that one of the tracks on the album “could be a Taylor Swift song”. The visuals of Change, from the music video to the album art, signal their new direction even more. Heather trades her smudged black eyeliner and dark clothes with pastel blue eyeshadow, a white dress, and angel wings. Their signature black and red cover art is replaced with a pastel pinks and blues. Butterflies, and clear symbol of transformation, can also be seen on the cover art and in the music video. If you loved the first album and Pale Waves distinct sound, don’t worry, it is still filled to the brim with their personality and attitude. Change is more of a fusion of the Pale Waves old and new style, mixing their indie sound with a pop production.
As a song that demonstrates Pale Waves’ growth, the decision to release Change as the first single from the album Who Am I? is fitting. The album is a product of COVID-19, having been written and recorded during lockdown. In an interview with Annie Mac, Baron-Gracie spoke about how she was inspired to write as a result of the time-off to “grow and emotionally develop” that lockdown had given her, stating “I’ve completely changed as a person”. Who Am I? is a self-confessed discovery of herself, with each track exploring topics that are close to the band’s heart, from love and sexuality, to gender norms and mental health. Baron-Gracie hopes that the album is a comfort for people, especially after the struggles of this year, and that it encourages them to grow into the best versions of themselves just as the writing process did for her.
You can check out Change here, and pre-order Who Am I?, due to be released 21st February 2021, here. Watch out for a new track next month!