Alex the Astronaut bends the boundaries of folk in different ways on her path to depicting humanity’s most basic side
Hailing from Australia, Alexandra Lynn, or Alex the Astronaut as her stage name goes, is a young artist that has no problem fitting into her own shoes. At only 25 years old, she has already been described as one of “Australia’s most powerful and important songwriters” as well as has headlined a tour with fellow Australian female folk hero Stella Donnelly in 2018. Her success is backed by a wall of two separate EP’s, a live album and a multitude of singles that have a way of capturing humanity that does not come as easily to a person as young as Lynn. Focusing much of her music on the human condition, she tells stories of love, sexuality and loss. In her new album arriving at the end of August, The Theory of Absolutely Nothing, Alex the Astronaut depicts life in a new and interesting way by combining this outlook on life with light yet intriguing melodies.
One of these such songs is “San Francisco.” The song opens with a simple acoustic guitar and a mention of “a man who had green pepper lies.” Lynn contrasts this lying man with another thought and says, “I always thought that you have to be nice, and I really think most people try.” She then continues with a story of a man who gave his lung to a stranger who was in need. This juxtaposition between people shows Alex’s ability to see the world from various perspectives, making her songwriting vastly more intricate.
In the first song on the record, “Happy Song,” the listener is deceived because “Happy Song” is not in fact, a “happy song.” Lynn dives into post-relationship depression helped along by a solemn acoustic guitar. The narrator needs a happy song to help her make it through the night. This lovesick character in the track can be looked to for comfort knowing that many of people have experienced this feeling—a need for emotional escape. By capturing heartbreak in a surprising way, Alex the Astronaut starts her album off incredibly strongly.
In the next few songs in the album, Lynn is able to be intimate with her audience and show her own humanity. For example, in the third song on the album, “Split the Sky,” Alex sings, “I’ve been colder, watching Harry Potter looking older.” Moments like these are hardly ever captured in music as they are seen to be ordinary or mundane, however, by including this personal experience, all normalcy goes out the window and it creates an attention-grabbing line. One of the best ways this intimacy is established with the audience is through the music itself. Charming piano and acoustic guitar melodies are often made up of just a few notes, which adds for a comforting effect like in “Banksia.” Drums full of snares and cymbals often come into tracks to italicize certain ideas or parts of the song, which can be found in songs such as “Christmas in July” or “I Think You’re Great.”
All in all, because of the simplistic yet highly enjoyable melodies, because of the mundane stories that aren’t actually all that mundane and because of Lynn’s ability to show the “real” in life, The Theory of Absolutely Nothing is an incredibly strong album. Alex the Astronaut has already received large acclaim, and her new album is setting her up in a position to make major waves in the music industry.