Arlo Parks has announced her full-length follow-up to 2021’s Collapsed in Sunbeams, My Soft Machine. It’s out May 26th, and she’s also shared the lead single, “Weightless.”
In a statement, the London-based singer-songwriter revealed the inspiration behind her sophomore LP as well as its title, which she lifted from the 2019 Joanna Hogg film, The Souvenir. “The world/our view of it is peppered by the biggest things we experience – our traumas, upbringing, vulnerabilities almost like visual snow,” she shared. “This record is life through my lens, through my body – the mid-20’s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating P.T.S.D. and grief and self-sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity – what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body.”
For the origins of the album’s title, Parks identified a quote by Tom Burke’s character in The Souvenir that perfectly summarized all of the project’s themes: “In an early scene he’s explaining why people watch films – ‘We don’t want to see life as it is played out, we want to see life as it is experienced in this soft machine.’ So there we have it, the record is called… My Soft Machine.”
The 12-track album features a contribution from Phoebe Bridgers, and the lead single, “Weightless,” reveals just how far Parks has come in the two years since her debut LP dropped. The light, dreamy vocals still float in the mix, but they’re punctuated by a swirling synth production, airy vocal splices, and a thumping beat. The entire track showcases her growing maturity as an artist, and she sounds more confident than ever while delivering a spoken-word piece over the bridge. “Weightless” comes with a music video, and you can check it out below.
My Soft Machine follows Arlo Parks’ impressive debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, which earned her our Artist of the Month distinction in January 2021 and later ranked among our Top Albums of 2021.
The Grammy-nominated artist spent much of the past year on the road, opening for the likes of Harry Styles, Clairo, Billie Eilish, and Florence + The Machine, while also hosting festival performances at Glastonbury and Coachella, both which featured her surprise backing vocals during sets by Phoebe Bridgers and Lorde, respectively. She also released her lone 2022 single, “Softly,” in February. Later this year she’ll play Primavera Sound, and this fall she’ll embark on a UK and European tour. Tickets are available here.
In September, Parks announced that she would have to cancel a week’s worth of solo US tour dates in order to manage mounting mental health struggles as a result of extensive touring. “I pushed myself unhealthily, further and harder than I should’ve,” she shared in a statement. “It’s painful to admit that my mental health has deteriorated to a debilitating place, that I’m not okay, that I’m a human being with limits.” Her decision came at a time when several fellow artists made similar calls to postpone or outright cancel their tours, opening up a conversation on how to best address live music’s lingering concerns amidst the pandemic.
My Soft Machine Artwork:
My Soft Machine Tracklist:
05. Purple Phase
07. Pegasus ft. Phoebe Bridgers
08. Dog Rose
10. I’m Sorry
11. Room (red wings)