Samia Finnerty is one of those artists who seem to have appeared from nowhere: one of those mysterious names you’ll see on random Spotify playlists, and then, before you know it, she’s inescapable. It’s easy to be cynical about Finnerty’s rise, especially when you find out she’s the daughter of a Hollywood couple, but there’s enough talent on display on The Baby to show Samia is more than a bored celebrity offspring.
Strikingly, and unusually for these streaming times, The Baby feels like a ‘proper’ album. Opening track Pool is a stately, slow introduction – featuring the last voicemail that Samia’s grandmother left her before she died – before Fit N Full kicks in, full of swaggering, confident pop sensibility. By the time Is There Something In The Movies closes the record about half an hour later, you feel like going right back to the start.
Even on the more upbeat tracks on The Baby, there’s a sadness lurking beneath. Fit N Full sounds like a glorious pop track, but dig deep and there’s a vulnerability in both Samia’s delivery and her lyrics (“I have never really been upset, just hollow and amazing, all I want is to be like my dad”). The dreamy haze of Stellate recalls Mitski at times, while much of the record shares the stripped down fragility of Taylor Swift‘s Folklore.
Samia’s also a dab hand at writing lyrics which accurately convey the uncertainty and fear the world can conjure up when you’re in the early 20s. There’s many startling lines, such as Does Not Heal’s mention of “trying to hide behind hair that’s not grown yet”, while the laid-back funk of Minnesota contains lyrics like “I came alive this morning with the pit in my stomach”.
Possibly the most affecting song on The Baby is its closing number Is There Something In The Movies. Apparently written about the late actress Britanny Murphy, who was a family friend of the Finnertys, it’s a stark acoustic ballad that shows off Samia’s voice to its best advantage. Her delivery of a line like “everyone dies but they shouldn’t die young” is one of the most memorable moments of the album.
There may not be a particular moment on The Baby that stops you in your tracks, and there’s possibly no sign yet of a big breakthrough hit that would elevate Samia to the next level of stardom. Yet the production (by, amongst others, two members of the band Hippo Campus and Caleb Hinz of The Happy Children) gives each song a shimmering quality that lends itself well to repeated listening.
The Baby is an album that, the longer you live with it, the more you grow to love it. It’s a debut that slowly winds itself into your heart, and promises even better things to come.