‘Clean’, the new release from LA-based artist Sam Valdez, is a considered take on dealing with the darker sides of love. Brought up in the shade of the Nevada desert, the cool of Valdez’s moody-indie tracks has garnered her a reputation as an upcoming artist to look out for. Having released personal single ‘Toothache’ a couple of months previously, the artist has begun to delve a little deeper, with ‘Clean’ following the trail.
Listening to her folky music, it’s no surprise to learn Sam Valdez is from the USA’s west coast. In her coy tones it’s easy to draw comparisons with Lana Del Ray; hints of Americana line both artists’ tales of troubled relationships. Like the New Yorker, Valdez touches on difficult subjects with an air of detachedness. It’s not that she doesn’t care, rather her steadiness simply fails to betray the depths of her worries.
Indeed, despite its melancholy the track is easy listening. A melodic electric guitar immediately sets a steady tempo. This consistent pattern creates a disconcertingly comforting feeling of stasis. It is therefore left to lyrics – which deal with themes of change – to generate a sense of internal conflict. The refrain “oh your mind is changing to the cruellest kind” ticks like a clock. Valdez worries about all her friends “moving on” whilst she remains trapped in her own head.
It’s a daydream of a song, but with little pretence about how difficult relationships can be. Valdez has been working on “sharing more sides” of her emotive spectrum and that is certainly the case here. Fans of shoegaze indie will no doubt enjoy joining Valdez in taking a moment to reflect. As the singer-songwriter preaches, it can be so difficult to “predict the weather”, but often, addressing this openly can be the first necessary step in “finding comfort in uncertainty”.
Words by Adam Goldsmith