I can not for the life of me work out exactly how Airling fell into my life this year, but my God am I glad she did. Prior to 2017 the only time I'd posted about Airling was with her feature on the Japanese Wallpaper track 'Forces', but I skipped over her first EP Love Gracefully and single 'Stallin' to land at her debut album, Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream. I think that anybody who knows me would be surprised to hear how much I love this record especially with my near hatred for ballads and general downtemponess.
Airling, whose real life name is Hannah Shepherd, comes from Brisbane in good ol' Australia. This is why the man speaking relaxation prose throughout the album has an Australian accent. I actually hate these bits. I'm not a fan of interludes and skits or whatever generally, and I totally appreciate that what happens on these snippets is quite an original thing to slot into a pop album but it's not for me. And that's the beauty of the digital age, I can just delete them and pretend they don't exist - glory!
That aside, I think the songs on this album are absolutely incredible from start to finish. They're a beautiful, stunning amalgamation of pop and R&B. There are (what I've read as) recurring themes of lust and wanting to be wanted and wanting to be the best for someone else. Seeing as nobody I know actually reads this I'll tell you about the time during which this album came to me. There was a boy who I got pretty attached to. But this boy fucked 👏 me 👏 up 👏. Never have you ever had so many mixed signals from someone who actually, it transpired, didn't even give a shit about me as a friend. He's dead to me now. But this album got me at multiple points. I think the ability for one person to hear another person's experiences through their music and interpret it to fit what they're going through is completely nuts, but I guess it just happens sometimes.
There are so many highlights on this record that the entire album is a highlight. My personal favourite tracks, at least lyrically, are probably 'Move Me', 'Far Away' and 'Bloodshot Blue'. The use of Tom Iansek as a guest vocalist throughout Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream is honestly some kind of genius - subtle yet so effective. Similarly Fractures' Mark Zito's vocals on 'Vessel' makes for an absolutely dreamy collaboration. This record is genuinely a delight from end to end and I haven't much more to say on it than that.