Indigo De Souza released her third studio album “All of This Will End” on April 28. The album, her first since the departure of original bandmates Jake Lendermann and Owen Stone, was largely self-produced and, per usual, self-written.
Described in an Instagram collab post with Pitchfork as “death and a rebirth… deep, dark nights alone and having to process things that are hard to process, but coming out on the other side,” the album relumes the theme of death but expands upon her prior notions of it.
“I would say that death is the biggest inspiration for maybe all things in my life,” she says in the post. “I think for a while I felt like death was a reason to feel like life didn’t matter, and it made it hard for me to infuse my life with meaning. Then at some point, I switched over and … suddenly started to feel like death is kind of this beautiful gift. Knowing that you’re going to die allows you to infuse your life with intention and purpose and meaning and love.”
De Souza delves into these themes as early as the first track of the album, “Time Back.” Beginning with the bare pairing of simple, yet melodic, rhythm synth play and her filtered vocals, the song starts off evocative of Charli XCX’s self-titled album “Charli.”
After singing “[i]t feels like I’m losing my best friend / But we’re gonna love again / On the other side,” a distorted synth lead carries the song into the chorus — a transition characterized, maybe exemplified, by De Souza’s singing of a heavily effected and delayed “yuh.” The instrumental is then catalyzed into an explosive reveal of its full instrumental potential, with the original pair of the rhythm synth and her singing joined not only by the synth lead but also a drum machine and bass.
Following the chorus, the song enters an instrumental breakdown where De Souza’s lead vocals are supported only by the ambient noise of kids playing — a sound evocative of her first album, “I Love My Mom” — and her background vocals, which are mixed in a way that makes them sound like lead guitars.
Entering the outro, the instrumental deteriorates into an abyss filled only, yet entirely, by droning bass. The tension created by this bass is resolved with the last lyric “[w]hen I come home / I will begin again” as both the vocals and instrumental stop.
Reflecting De Souza’s newfound maturity and perspective on death, she mourns a lost friend or lover rather than spiting them, leaving emotional space for them to try again in another life and looking forward toward a new page in the one in which she currently exists.
The next track, indie rock anthem “You Can Be Mean,” rings more familiarly for fans of De Souza’s prior work. Described in a statement as a song “about a brief toxic experience [she] had with a manipulative and abusive LA model fuckboy,” the song is intrinsically antagonistic, yet finds space for humor in its delivery.
“Leading up to that experience, I had a history of putting myself in toxic situations and pining for validation from people who treated me poorly. I was stuck in some delusion that I could help abusive people through their trauma and teach them to love me in the way I deserved. I wrote this song when I finally realized that I could choose not to allow harmful behavior into my life and that there is a deep, deep importance in protecting the body and spirit.” she said.
Through her lyrics, “[g]o past the photograph and take a right … / Thank you for trying to be polite / But, babe, I think we’re already past that,” De Souza demonstrates how she doesn’t allow any positive prior experiences or notions to bias her current evaluation of him. The scalding “[y]ou know what you took from me / It makes me sick to think about that night” is not only exposing but borderline damning, a powerful display of vulnerability and a reproach of his mistreatment of her.
De Souza initiates the final verse with the humorous “I’d like to think you got a good heart / And your dad was just an asshole growing up / But I don’t see you trying that hard to be better than he is” and ends it with the longing “[w]hen will it ever get any bеtter? / When’s it gonna get any bеtter?” Though she tries to give him the benefit of the doubt, he seemingly proves himself to be just as bad as his father is, with the final lyrics then being interpreted as either a questioning of if this “LA model fuckboy” will ever grow up or a more philosophical questioning of if her love life will ever improve.
Most of the songs on the album tend to fall into one of the two categories trailblazed by the first two tracks — either recognizing her limits or accosting that which exists beyond them. “The Water,” however enigmatic it may be, belongs to the former.
The song begins with just an eight-beat drum machine loop and De Souza’s vocals and stereo rhythm guitars come in after sixteen beats. “I walk up to your doorstep / Look through the window / I don’t think anybody’s home / I come again tomorrow / I don’t think anyone’s alone,” she then sings. Supported by the end of the verse by a synth arpeggio, an eccentric synth lead and a lead guitar residing in stereo right, she sings about the feeling of no longer being one of the important people in the life of someone with whom you were once close.
After a brief instrumental breakdown, she then sings “I ride down to the water / I run my fingers through it / I don’t think anyone’s around / I get into the water / I leave my clothes up on a rock.” Continuing the trend from the first verse of singing the first line twice, the second time more melodically and with the middle word dripping with delay, she sings about the intimacy and — literal or figurative — nakedness that the water empowers. The melisma of the second repetition of the first line of the verse conveys a feeling of freedom, a realization of the joy that what is described in it should bring. Though the first verse was unsuccessful in realizing this joy, the second verse was — as demonstrated by De Souza’s subsequent reiteration of “I really love the water” through the chorus and refrain.
In the final verse, she sings “I float down to that parking lot … / I think about what it was like / That summer when we were young and / You did it with that guy in his car.” Here, she continues to reminisce, though now it is suggested that the person being remembered was a friend.
“The Water” could be interpreted as representing time — how both flow unimpeded and wash away everything in their path. A reference to the album’s themes of death and rebirth, time’s inevitable flow leads to the former, whether of connections of lives, thus too in a sense promoting the latter. By interpreting the lyrics through this lens, listeners could then metabolize the first verse as representing the change caused by time and the final verse as a reminiscence of what once was. The second verse, chorus and refrain could then be metabolized as representing De Souza’s newfound embrace of the inevitability of time and/or how it is still enjoyable for one who lives in the present to bask in the past. Though she may miss what time washed away, she leaves the past where it is and embraces time’s implied capacity for new life and rebirth.
“All of This Will End,” as demonstrated by its name, is a public service announcement for the importance of living life while it’s still here — recognizing your limitations and allowing your cognizance of them to paradoxically empower you. Aided by instrumentation existing in the outermost extremes of indie rock, De Souza finds solace in what she can do and exercises irreverence towards what she can’t.
Like the smaller creature depicted in her album artworks painted by her mother, artist Kimberly Oberhammer, she has grown up and is conscious of it. Regardless of what newfound struggles that may bring, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter will be well-equipped to face anything that comes her way and has flipped a consequential page in the tale of her musical development.
June Min is an Arts & Entertainment Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. He can be reached at email@example.com.