"Act as it is, and then it shall be" I am known as a pretty glass half-empty soul, but I am also weirdly known for saying this specific take on the classic "fake it till you make it" quote. I'll say it three times a week (and/or day), usually when stressed, and most definitely when I don't actually believe it. Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson launched herself into the world of music as CMAT, "global pop star from Ireland", in 2020 with her debut single "Another Day At KFC".
Over the course of seven singles (and a Christmas song for good measure), CMAT consecutively knocked pop fused earworms out of the ballpark. Of course, CMAT's success isn't a result of the laws of manifestation; it's hard graft and immense talent. After scoring a slot in a private Charlie XCX master songwriting class, she spent most of 2019 building her craft on YouTube, with a six-month-long challenge to write one song a week.
Now 2022, after releasing a series of well-received list of singles, she presents her debut album If My Wife New I'd Be Dead. One of the biggest compliments I can give the album straight away is the body of work as a whole strikes a perfect balance and flow between the new and the familiar. A bit like CMAT herself, her likeable character and relatable lyrics make If My Wife New I'd Be Dead accessible to its listeners well past the addictive musical arrangements.
Echoes of lyrics like "I break down every time I'm on the scales" (I Wanna Be A Cowboy), "I hate that your friends hate me now" (I Really Don't Care For You), or simplifying having fondness for any Virgo placement (No More Virgos), listening to the album I found myself feeling exposed dozens of times, but in a way, I never knew could be so enjoyable, perhaps a decent hook is a way forward for self-actualization.
Country music can be a double-edged sword as a genre, growing up the local radio station's "Country Corner" soundtracking our home kitchen on weekend mornings. While there is some PTSD from Daron Norwood, I grew a fondness from Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Glenn Campbell. And while CMAT states, "I'm not a country musician, I do think I'm a country singer". I found the aforementioned names could be found on the album as she delivers the sound of authentic vintage romance. Especially seen in the escapism of "Nashville", "I Wanna Be A Cowboy Baby!" or "Peter Bogdanovich", which also resonates the sorrow of a Dusty Springfield track for me.
Of course, this album does not only ring with the romance of yesteryear; If My Wife New I'd Be Dead is laced with a whole array of more modern sounds. Bizarre imagery in the lyrics, "arms made of cotton wool" (I Wanna Be A Cowboy), echoes Cate Le Bon. While there are sprinklings of Father John Misty's "I Love You Honeybear" in the arrangements of "Nashville" and "2 Wrecked 2 Care" or even Angel Olsen in "I'd Want U".
Meshing all of the above together, the album as a whole is enjoyable from start to finish stacked with, dare I say, potential sync placements - but who am I to say? I'm sure CMAT has her next moves planned well, and I'm more than happy to watch it manifest into reality (see what I did there).
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