Morgan Nagler Finds Her Voice on I’m a Man
A former child star, Los Angeles native, and Whispertown frontman, Morgan Nagler encountered a major setback while recording her latest album. Although she began recording I’m a Man almost five years ago, Nagler had to put the project on hold after losing her voice due to a vocal chord polyp. Not to be deterred, Nagler underwent years of speech therapy to get back into the studio for her fourth album under the name Whispertown. The result is a deliciously lo-fi, distinctly Californian sound that alternates between stark realities and infectious optimism.
“Born to Ride” kicks off the album with an ode to freedom and the open road. It sets the tone for the rest of the album — a dreamy Americana soundscape with entrancing, hazy vocals. “There Are No Words” drips in static with Nagler singing in a monotone that, once subtlety distorted, sounds like chanting. “There are no words to dissect our love” she sings softly, lamenting the shortfalls and limitations of language. She reminds the listener, “the future will unfold without the comment of the room.”
I’m a Man occassionally waxes into the abstract, with Nagler’s words sounding more like riddles than lyrics. “Life is a light switch in the eye of the beholder/life is a big fish” she sings whimsically on “Big Fish.” She veers back on track with the meandering, atmospheric “Love Is All You Need,” in which her voice echoes hauntingly throughout as she repeats the title’s sentiment. On “Get Happy,” however, Nagler’s optimism and realism finally meet, as the singer implies that in such a daunting world, to “get happy is the only thing you can do.”
I’m a Man is Nagler’s answer to and respite from a complicated, divided world. “I want to get back to the beach, where the salty air could cure diseases,” she sings with yearning. In 11 tracks, she successfully conjures up a hopeful image of the future and, luckily, we’re all invited.