Samia’s debut album The Baby is an album that I’ve been waiting for. I’ve fallen for Samia’s voice and writing ever since I heard “Someone Tell the Boys.” Now, after releasing a string of singles over the last few years, Samia has finally put out her full-length debut. And it’s so, so good - The Baby is already one of my favorite releases of 2020.
Samia, full name Samia Finnerty, calls New York home and spent her earlier years in LA. She began writing at 15, inspired by artists like Nirvana and The National, and started performing by singing at open mics at the Bareburger in New York City and faking a manager’s email to book her own shows. These shows were full of energy–said to have Samia kissing bandmates and humping amplifiers without missing a note. Eventually, she began releasing one-off singles on Spotify in 2017 and signed to Grand Jury Music in 2018.
The Baby carries that authentic and charismatic energy: “Fit N Full” and “Limbo Bitch” are standout tracks, probably for the off-kilter and sticky lines like “You can limbo bitch, dance before you quit” and “I was outta town when Dymphnas closed/ Got prettier in Denver/Phasing out of this old fairy tale, apple cider vinegar and kale/ I'm fit and full as ever.” “Fit N Full” is particularly blunt and satirical, riffing on bodily standards. “If you want, I can take it off/ And show you what my mama gave me,” she sings.
“Big Wheel” is another top-notch song on The Baby, exemplifying an aspect that I love in Samia’s songwriting: the strings of different memories and images all lined up, spewing out one after another, charging along to a certain fulfilling melody. She describes her big wheel in Montana, her friend in Japan, her lover in her bed, all building to the simple, plaintive chorus that hits the heart hard: “I got bad news but I didn’t fight.”
Odd yet visceral descriptions, too, are another Samia signature: “I am just wet and afraid, and screaming your name/ Fuck, if your one sliced hand is not the keeper of the back of my neck/ I came alive this morning with the pit in my stomach” she sings in “Minnesota.”
“Is There Something in the Movies?”, which was the lead single from The Baby, is certainly the most heart wrenching of them all, a rumination on entertainment, legacy, and love: “But I gave it to you on the day that we met, 'Cause I already trusted you best, And everyone dies but they shouldn't die young... Is there something in the movies that’s better than my love?”
The Baby is an exploration of finding and understanding yourself. It’s a proclamation of both autonomy and honesty, supported by a fluid mix of rock, pop, and folk. Listen to The Baby below.