Worthy is a devastating album. As the sophomore album from Connecticut songwriter Figurine, the solo project of Ashly LaRosa, Worthy is a poetic and blunt body of work that will hit you right in the gut.
Figurine first made her label debut at Funnybone Records in 2017 with the album View From the Inside. Dylan Healy, the founder of Funnybone Records, says, “Figurine’s album View from Inside was the record that launched our label back in 2017. Being able to witness 2021’s Worthy from start to finish was the most rewarding experience. I remember Ashly playing some of these songs back in 2015, 2016 and immediately sensing their timelessness. In fact, the album closer “Paper Sea” was originally written in 2010; it took a decade for it to find its true form and home.”
First on the record is “Daughter Language,” a recording that transports me to a forest full of birds, or maybe my own mother’s backyard, surrounded by wind-chimes and birdhouses (By that I mean the song uses field recordings of birds and chimes to compliment Figurine’s full and haunting voice).
Often, as I’m listening to this album, I’m reminded of Angel Olsen. “Two Scorpios” is one such song, a delight that is marked by distortion and power while Figurine’s voice remains soft and raw. Sex is a common thread throughout Figurine’s songs: In “Two Scorpios,” she sings, “A book borrowed, sex videos/While watching, we both think of 20 year olds.” Lines like this add a physicality to the songs. But it’s not just sex; often, it’s just a consideration of one’s own body. “My inside is out, this is myself most nakedly,” ends Figurine on "Two Scorpios."
Many of the songs feel ethereal and full of space, while still full of interesting elements and instruments. In this way, I’m sometimes reminded of Bon Iver, like in “Gallows,” where there is a bending and clatter of horns and chimes. Other songs feature descending piano riffs, droning tones, ukulele, or sounds of rain and thunder.
When asked about her own thoughts on Worthy, Figurine says, “It’s been four wildly emotional years writing and recording my new album Worthy. At the time I started writing these songs, I was finishing up my old album View from Inside. I was in the raw of ending things with someone, so really the majority of the songs just materialized as a natural reflex. Each song on the tracklist is heavy in its own way, and I sort of think of them as a series of overly-dramatic Tumblr posts. There's a lot on needing to be loved, self worth, and loss (I think I talk about death in at least half the tracks). There’s also a lot about basically fetishizing romantic pain and getting off on feelings of jealousy or being deserted.”
As such, Figurine’s lyrics often feel like hot metal, like burning daggers, but in a way that I love it and want more. “Happy anniversary, this guy just tried to fuck me 30 times,” is how she opens “Kiddo,” before asking, “Will you always give a shit about me?”
On her songwriting process, Figurine says, “In general, I do try my hardest to write in simple recollected moments without drawing conclusions or making discoveries. Writing is just my way of organizing thoughts (and often my way of saying things that might otherwise be uncomfortable to say), but I do hope these songs help other people feel less alone. That pillow talk you didn't know you needed, because that would be a sweet bonus.”