Reviewed by: Melissa Komar
July, Marissa Nadler’s sixth full-length album, offers a private glimpse at a relationship gone bad and the painful process of reflecting on what went wrong. Over the course of the forty-six minutes worth of eleven tracks, July showcases Nadler’s beautiful, yet somewhat sorrow-tinged, vocals amid simple acoustic guitar chords and occasional piano notes.
Almost every track on the album opens with a brief guitar solo, with the exception of “I’ve Got Your Name” and final track “Nothing in My Heart”, both of which are lead into Nadler’s siren-of-the-sea enchanting voice by piano chords. Aside from breathtaking vocals backed by minimum, yet enjoyable instrumentation, the lyrics are heart on your sleeve, how could I be so foolish relatable. On “Holiday In”, Nadler admits to a classic-case scenario drunk phone call to your ex singing, “I called you when I was drunk all the time…laying on the floor I knew you were never mine.” Definitely not something anyone wants to willingly admit, but Nadler lays it bare in an honest, yet void of bitterness, fashion.
Opening track “Drive” sees Nadler’s vocals at their eeriest, but catchy as she repeats, “Nothing like the way it feels, nothing like the way it feels to drive.” The electric guitar featured on “Was it a Dream” offers a breath of balanced, fresh air amid the otherwise heavily acoustic guitar tracks of the entire album. Although the album never seems to reach a more upbeat tempo musically, concluding track “Nothing in My Heart” seems to be an acceptance of sorts, with the lyrics suggesting the closing of the book on the chapter that was the failed relationship with Nadler crooning, “Maybe it’s the weather, but I’ve got nothing in my heart.”
A beautiful contemplation of a past love and the fight to move forward, July is dripping with regret and honesty. Nadler’s vocals stay consistent for the duration of the album. I was tempted to skip a few tracks and I’d be hard-pressed to find myself tuning in to listen to it on the radio, but this doesn’t take away from the genuine sound of the album.