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Suki Waterhouse Finds Her Voice

On May 9, 2022

Every week, we tell you about an album we think you need to spend time with. This week’s album is Suki Waterhouse’s debut album, I Can’t Let Go.

Since Suki Waterhouse became a model at age 16, she has been under the public’s watchful eye. Paired with her numerous roles as a budding actress and her high-profile dating history, it always seemed that she was peering in at her life from the outside of a window rather than experiencing it for herself. While Waterhouse released her first single in 2016, it has taken her since then to release her debut album, I Can’t Let Go on Sub Pop Records. Singing and songwriting became a way for her to reclaim control over her life, where she could unabashedly reflect and experience it clearly. 

“The album is called I Can’t Let Go, because for years it felt like I was wearing heavy moments on my sleeve and it just didn’t make sense to do so anymore,” she shared in a statement for Sub Pop.  “There’s so much that I’ve never spoken about. Writing music has always been where it felt safe to do so. Every song for the record was a necessity.”

In some moments, Suki Waterhouse unleashes dense guitar strums and surges of vocal fry that fully portray her earned confidence. In one of the album’s very first singles “Moves” and the subsequent “Devil I Know,” Waterhouse illustrates this with lyrics that both ponder on the journey of relationships. Describing “Moves,” Waterhouse noted, “I often think, ‘What happens when you are struck by someone who changes the course of your entire life?’ The song speculates on that journey, one that moves beyond lust and physical longing, where you know that you now have something to give.”

In other moments, the album sees ballad tempos and breathy tones in songs like “Put Me Through It,” where her maturity shines through in the wake of knowing heartbreak’s cyclical nature, and in “My Mind,” where Waterhouse portrays a battle with her own psyche and lays her hand for the world to see. She slowly shares in between quiet strums of the album’s single, “Nothing left to lose / Only my mind.”  

“Bullshit on the Internet” shows her rebounding from the album’s slower moments in rapid guitar twangs along with the laments of internet culture, especially as a frequent subject in the media. She sings, “Why do I even check? / I should know / It’s all bullshit on the internet.” She quickly returns to exhaling in falsettos on “Slip,” which plays like a poetic story of falling out of love while still feeling the ghostly trails of the person who has imprinted your heart. 

Weaving in between tender and hushed folk-inspired tunes and sturdy bounces of drums and guitars that sound like they belong in cinestill shots of rose petals in bathtubs, Waterhouse finds her voice in the music. While I Can’t Let Go was an album long in the making, it outlines pivotal moments of her life and places it in a glass case, where every corner is visible to the listener. And for this moment of Suki Waterhouse’s debut, for once, we are the ones from the outside looking in. 

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Jillian Nguyen

Jillian's origin story began with jam sessions to early 2000s Eurodance tunes, resulting in her current self-proclamations as an EDM aficionado. Jillian has followed her favorite artists to over 15 music festivals and countless concerts.

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