A powerhouse of many talents is back to make her voice heard
New York-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Imani Coppola has been impressing her audiences since the 1970s. Her abrasiveness and deeply emotional tracks have continued to generate curiosity towards her music style for years. With her 12th studio album to date and her first new music since 2017, The Protagonist plays its part as it walks the listener through a dystopia that Coppola has dreamt up with urgency.
In a dramatic and cinematic fashion, Coppola takes 12 original tracks and spins them all on their heads. From acoustic guitar-based “Blackteria” to piano and harmonies on “Contributing Member Of Society,” each track incorporates a new genre of music seamlessly into The Protagonist. While each track twists and turns into one another like a staged broadway play, the overall themes of the album are much more real.
Addressing both the current state of the country and mental health issues, Coppola commented to broadwayworld.com saying, “I needed to make this album as entertaining and upsetting as America itself is right now.” ”SAMO” and “Lying To My Therapist” play on classic ’90s pop tunes and provide a dancy rhythm while still making it a point to realize that depression and isolation are overwhelming problems that need to be talked about more. As informative and interesting as The Protagonist plays out to be, parts of the album seem a bit unfinished or out of place. “Oh La” comes towards the end of the album and is an upbeat piano tune that doesn’t make much sense as it plays out in 50 seconds while “la-la’s” carry the listener off into a weird abrupt ending. The album ends with “Good Day Good Night,” a track that turns from ’80s workout tune to upbeat children’s theme song.
Though the message of The Protagonist is one that needs to be talked about and Coppola’s honest world views come through in a very tasteful way, musically the album seems a bit lost. With so many competing sounds and energies, the album gets a bit muddy and thus causes a confusing finish to what could possibly be her best album to date lyrically.