New retro-pop on the block
Irish singer-songwriter CMAT released her first album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, in February 2022. Since its release, it has hit the top of the charts in Ireland and collected many streams. CMAT, Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, began writing her debut album in 2020. If My Wife New I’d Be Dead covers topics from love and breakups to insomnia and womanhood. This impressive collection of songs gives CMAT the space to express everything she has gone through in the past few years while also showing off her musical talent through a retro pop/psychedelic rock sound.
“I Don’t Really Care for You” is the second song on the album, and it is the story of a messy breakup. She sings about the relationship being toxic for both members, as each person did not give the best version of themselves to the other. The reflective lyrics create a sad, nostalgic tone, while the upbeat instrumentation establishes a tone of relief. It has a danceable retro-pop sound with driving percussion and catchy piano riffs.
The third song on the album, “Peter Bogdanovich,” tells the sordid story of the marriage of American film producer Polly Platt and actor Peter Bogdanovich. While filming one of their movies together, Bogdanovich leaves Platt for the lead actress. CMAT explores this story from the perspective of the new woman with Peter Bogdanovich. CMAT says she decided to explore this story after hearing it on a podcast. She mentioned that it had piqued her interest as she has been on both sides of this story, the one being cheated on and also the one cheating. The instrumentation floats in the background and allows the lyrics and story to take center stage.
The fifth track on the album “Lonely” is relatively self-explanatory. She explains feeling lonely and isolated, and she tries to figure out how she got where she is now. She comes to the conclusion that it is her own fault. She says that a personal experience inspired this song and she decided to finish the song during quarantine as she believed more people could relate to these feelings.
The ninth track, “2 Wrecked 2 Care,” explores a new topic: insomnia. CMAT sings about her personal experiences with insomnia brought on by stress and anxiety. This personal topic tells about her struggle with insomnia and how it affects her personality and daily functioning for the worse. The depressing lyrics are accompanied by a somewhat psychedelic rock and retro-pop sound, with rhythmic acoustic guitar, harmonies and steady drums.
The eleventh track on the album “I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!” explores her identity as a woman and who she is in life. She touches on the ideas of being a woman that is alone and the dangers of it. She sings about wanting to be able to walk home alone and feel comfortable without having to depend on others to be safe. She allows a sad tone to be heard through her vocals and they are enhanced by the dark guitar chords that accompany it.
Overall, CMAT’s debut album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, is an impressive collection of stories exploring various topics. It allows her to express her story and who she is as both an artist and person while maintaining a retro-pop sound that is true to her artistic identity.