Samia Is Bracingly Shameless on Honey

Our January CoSign breezes through a smorgasbord of heavy topics with a swift nonchalance

samia honey album review
Samia, photo by Sarina Kurrimbukus

    In the songwriting of Samia, alcohol is a character. It’s the destroyer of some relationships; the glue that binds others; or occasionally, as the Nashville-via-New York artist puts it herself, a “beautiful blanket of something” that shields its wearer from reality. It conjures the feeling that inspired the title of her new album Honey (arriving Friday, January 27th): heavy, slow, and sickeningly sweet.

    Samia’s music, however, doesn’t depict alcohol as a coping mechanism as much as a direct line from her deepest thoughts to paper. “Maybe you didn’t need tequila for this,” she sings on the abating “To Me It Was,” and you can almost envision her looking at herself in the bathroom at a dwindling house party, talking herself down from the anxiety of maybe having said too much.

    A little tongue-in-cheek and wisely self-deprecating, Honey has no filter, shamelessly naming names and always anticipating the moment when its narrator’s feelings become overwhelming. As the singer-songwriter brilliantly puts it on the jaunty “Amelia” (named after her friend and tourmate Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso): “I’m writing a poem – somebody stop me.” Listeners who have ever been deemed overly emotional by someone they once trusted immediately recognize Samia’s tactic here; it’s as if she’s rolling her eyes at the crushing sentimentality others have weaponized against her, ribbing herself first in defense.


    Perhaps the most raw Samia — who is also Consequence‘s January 2023 CoSign — gets on Honey is the album’s opener “Kill Her Freak Out,” a deceptively calm organ ballad that embodies the particular envy of watching a first love move on. “I hope you marry the girl from your hometown/ And I’ll fucking kill her/ And I’ll fucking freak out,” she coos over chords that could soundtrack both a wedding and a funereal, teasing her antagonist for having once kept worship songs on their iPod. The murderous sentiment is hyperbolic, of course, but understandable to the internet generation whose final blow in a heartbreak might come by way of a celebratory Facebook or Instagram announcement.

    Jilted love aside, Samia breezes through a smorgasbord of other heavy topics on Honey with a swift nonchalance that only emphasizes their disturbing nature. “I know exactly when it turned into an accident in the bathroom,” she recalls on “Pink Balloon,” letting the ambiguity of the lyric conjure the horrific visions she can’t even bring herself to describe. “If you give me a beer I’ll forget to watch what I eat,” she sings on the record’s aspirational title track between lines about congregating at a Porches concert in Brooklyn and dreaming she could become a fantastical creature.


    Some of the album’s most brutal moments come on the celestial “Breathing Song,” which culminates into a memory of calming backstage jitters before a milestone performance at the Greek. In one breath, she tackles both the anxieties of integrating into a new lover’s social circle and the resentment of having fallen into that love. “Your friends were so scary/ I wish you were more like them,” she lilts. Just moments later, she cites another bloody vignette: “Drove me from the bar/ Straight to the ER/ While I bled on your car.”


    Honey can be jarring when it oscillates between pleasant mundanities and pieces of her at her rock bottom. But Samia has explained that the record is her attempt at zooming out on her own life, delineating it in moments of both sheer joy and agony – does real life ever hesitate to flit between highs and lows? “There’s a real loneliness in feeling like your thoughts are too ugly or too crazy or too much for people,” she’s explained. On Honey, Samia finds her power in being an open book.

    Editor’s note: Secure tickets to catch Samia on tour here

    Essential Tracks: “To Me It Was,” “Kill Her Freak Out,” “Breathing Song”

    Honey Artwork: