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LHS Teachers Retiring
LHS Teachers Retiring
Michelle BekhtelMay 24, 2024

STOCKTON- The 2024 school year is coming to an end, and with this short time left we must take time to recognize teachers that have chosen to...

Exploring the Protege of the Arctic Monkeys; A Review of Alexandra Savior’s ‘Belladonna of Sadness’

Mesmerizing journey or hauntingly hollow?
Exploring the Protege of the Arctic Monkeys; A Review of Alexandra Savior’s ‘Belladonna of Sadness’

STOCKTON – On April 7, 2017, Alexandra Savior McDermott, artistically known as Alexandra Savior, released her debut album, Belladonna of Sadness. The album was written in collaboration with Alex Turner, lead singer & songwriter of the alternative rock band, Arctic Monkeys. The album transcends many micro-genres under the umbrella genre of alternative rock, spanning genres such as desert rock and psychedelic pop.

The opening track of the album, Mirage, effortlessly meshes airy synths with a plucky guitar reminiscent of the aforementioned desert rock genre which completely encompasses the album. Vocally, McDermott tends to draw out her words while singing which is something that remains true throughout the entire album. Lyrically, the song is about, sometimes from the point of view of, McDermott’s alter ego, Anna-Marie Mirage and the good and bad that comes with creating a character and playing that character when becoming a successful artist and how people will constantly expect you to project that persona for as long as your success allows. “La-di-dah/I sing songs about/Whatever the f–k they want/Whatever the f–k they want,” McDermott sings boredly on Mirage.

The second track on Belladonna of Sadness, Bones, leans more into the rock elements of the album with drums and electric guitar being a significant component to the song’s structure with the synths and dissonant keys playing a smaller part in the song. Lyrically, the song is about someone who recently fell in love and can’t stop thinking about the person they’re in love with, so much so that they can feel it in their bones. “And it goes on, it goes on and on/While you’re here, and long after you’re gone/Can’t pretend, no more/I just can’t pretend I’m not in love with you/That’s not true,” McDermott sings longingly on Bones.

Track 3, Shades, takes a more mellow approach of rock, with the synths and bass taking lead over the instrumental paired with a soft drum melody. Lyrically, Shades is about a relationship between the narrator and another person where the narrator compares their love to looking for your shades in your pockets when they’re already on your face, a metaphor for her lover missing the obvious. “Like when you’re looking for your shades/Rifling through your pockets/And you find them on your face.” McDermott sings on Shades.

On the fourth song, Girlie, McDermott takes a more jazzy approach to the alternative rock genre with heavy percussion elements and synths that almost mimic piano keys. Lyrically, the song is about the music industry and how although it may seem glamorous, it’s not all that it seems. “Talk about Hollywood problems/She’s got ’em/She’s always looking for a wilder ride/And she’ll be fuckin’ with her phone all night/She calls me ‘Girlie’” McDermott sings sadly on Girlie.

Frankie, track five on Belladonna of Sadness, leans more into the true alternative rock space with electric guitars and dissonant synths playing a major part in the instrumentation as well as reverb that creates an airy and atmospheric feeling. Lyrically, the song is about a situation in which the narrator’s partner has cheated on her but she seems very dismissive of it as it is assumed within the context of the song that she is also cheating on her partner. “You got stolen from next to me/You say you got to go/To a place I don’t know/Well, the ace in the hole/Is I’ve got a friend called Frankie” McDermott sings slyly on Frankie.

The sixth song, M.T.M.E or Music To My Ears, much like the previous song, has an instrumental built of the back of electric guitars while also adding in more percussion elements. Lyrically, the song sarcastically recounts the bitterness and confusion in the aftermath of a break up, where the narrator only has a mixtape as a souvenir of the relationship. “Scribbled down in pencil/Ten-track souvenir/Audio memento/Music to my ears” McDermott sings sarcastically on M.T.M.E.

Track 7, Audeline, is very simplistic instrumentally, mostly composed of keys and a drum melody that drown out a distant guitar counter-melody. Lyrically, Audeline is about a relationship between the narrator and a potential lover where she perceives him as untouchable but learns that isn’t the case once the worth of the man is questioned by a perceived friend of the narrator, Audeline. “Audeline/I question my design/Your opinion changed my mind/Don’t leave me caught up” McDermott pleads on Audeline.

On the eighth song, Cupid returns to the jazzier aspects of alternative rock, with bass and percussion elements being the basis of the instrumental. On this song McDermott switches up her vocal delivery with her projecting her voice in a more longing way as if she’s pleading for help in her situation. Lyrically, Cupid is about a bittersweet love story that turned sour, the narrator has a moment where she “comes down to Earth” realizing the person isn’t who she thought he was, the narrator questions whether she should leave them but loves them too much to do so. “Filled in the hole in the road/We were speaking in code/Stuck in fantasy mode/Whoever really liked coming back down to Earth?/It’s not that it hurt/It was just so much worse/With anyone but you” McDermott sings jadedly on Cupid.

‘Til You’re Mine, the ninth track on the album, leans on the melody of the dissonant synth sounds and hard hitting percussion instruments. Once again, McDermott takes a different vocal approach on this song with her lending to an almost bored tone as if the topic of the song is the last thing she wants to talk about. Lyrically, the song is about the emotional turmoil which the narrator feels as she obsesses over the girl her former lover left her for, picking apart every aspect of her. “She makes my shoulders deflate/Won’t ever see me standing up straight/Strawberry split personality/She’s got so many years hanging over me” McDermott sings boredly on ‘Til You’re Mine.

The penultimate song on Belladonna of Sadness, Vanishing Point, leans back into the desert rock genre and is composed entirely of percussion instruments and plucky guitar melodies. Lyrically, Vanishing Point is about a relationship doomed at the start, no matter how much the narrator may try to keep the relationship intact it was never meant to last long. Everybody else can eat my dust/Shall we make believe they’re chasing us?/Make a wish for me baby/’Cause I think they might be catching up” McDermott sings passionately on Vanishing Point.

The closer of the album, Mystery Girl, takes heavy inspiration from psychedelic pop music with the off beat drum patterns and guitar sounds that blend perfectly into the synth sounds, meshing the sounds effortlessly together. Lyrically, Mystery Girl tells the frustration of the narrator as she finds that her partner has been cheating on her, inquiring who the “mystery girl” she sees them with is. “Pardon me, baby/But who’s the mystery girl?/Don’t you try to calm me down/Don’t you try to calm me down” McDermott sings sharply on Mystery Girl.

In conclusion, Belladonna of Sadness by Alexandra Savior is a mesmerizing journey through the depths of emotion, with haunting melodies and poignant lyrics that captivate listeners from start to finish. McDermott’s evocative storytelling and lush musical arrangements create a sonic landscape that is both timeless and spellbinding. This album is a testament to McDermott’s artistry and marks her as a rising star in the indie music scene.

Favorite Song(s) – Mirage, Bones, Shades, Girlie, M.T.M.E., Audeline, Cupid, ‘Til You’re Mine, Mystery Girl

Least Favorite Song(s) – Frankie

Album Rating – 8.1/10

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About the Contributor
Dennis Hopkins
Dennis Hopkins, Staff Writer
Dennis Hopkins is a senior at Lincoln High School and this is his second semester in the Journalism class. In his free time he enjoys creative/narrative writing and listening to music. He writes often about music and voices his opinions on the album.

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