Denver-based Mlady’s full length album Maladaptive Daydreaming feels like its title: an atmosphere of vivid dreams told by lead singer Hannah Beeghly, accompanied by washy, pop orchestration. The record favors reversed reverb and atmospheric textures to fill out the sound of Beeghly’s forlorn, direct delivery.
Songs such as “Sadder Days” and “When Do You Know” start with synthesized effects, placing the listener in a dream-like headspace, and peaking with Beeghly’s vocal bravado. The guitar outset of “Anymore Anymore,” a simply strummed song with heavy reverb, builds to dense harmonies which keep us dreaming. Beeghly’s sweeping melodies and ever-changing high-to-low voice accentuate that tranquil, spacy dizziness.
While Mlady’s music conveys the feeling of dreams, the lyrics reflect vivid storytelling. “Class of 09” tells a story about running into a crush while in high school, passing each other in the cafeteria and standing next to each other at a football game. Despite her attraction, she knows that it will be unrequited or pointless, possibly due to the impending graduation.
In “Soda,” Beeghly sings about a lover to whom she’s addicted, comparing them to her favorite bubbly beverages and confetti cake, which she craves more than other, worse vices like smoke. The choice of soda shows how she feels her lover is sweet and refreshing, yet not toxic, though unhealthy. The lyrical specificity illustrates clear images, story and feelings, complete with clever wordplay to complete the chorus: “You’re soda – you’re sodalightful.”
Wanting to express dreamy atmospheres with lucid thoughts, Mlady gives Maladaptive Daydreaming to us in the real world. It’s a soothing, sonic means to escape the present moment and process the desires and thoughts that swim deep down inside.