It feels like every year is a banner year for Fousheé recently. Ignited by 2020’s “Deep End,” the singer-songwriter stole Summer 2021 with a stunning debut album in Time Machine, as 2022 has seen her reach new heights previously unimaginable.
From a world tour, to features with Saba, Ravyn Lenae, King Princess, and Pink Siifu, to co-writing Steve Lacy’s Gemini Rights — which has gone on to receive four GRAMMY nominations — it seemed like the year might have ended without a project from the undeniable star. That was until she announced the release of her spectacular sophomore album, softCORE.
softCORE is packed with prolific talent behind the boards — recruiting Zach Fogarty and BNYX as executive producers, Solomonophonic, Phoelix, Bēkon and others. Even Zelooperz holds a writing credit on one of the album’s singles, “supernova.” However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the 12-cut album.
It takes only one track to understand the meaning of the perfectly-titled project, as fluttering soft moments poke out behind a sea of surprising, yet warmly welcomed punk-rock. “simmer down” kicks it off on the latter half of this, warning listeners to, “Sim-mim-mim-mim-mimmer down / I don’t, I don’t fuck around,” behind a series of screams. “i’m fine” embodies this even further, ending each of Fousheé’s delicate verses with a palette-cleansing roar, serving almost as a warning for what is to come next.
“bored” sees her deliver one of the more expansive tracks on the album, combining a hip-hop influenced verse with a melody that just scratches your brain the right way, and of course, an angsty hook. Across contradiction-riddled lyrics, Fousheé toys with a boy’s emotions, asking him to be her boyfriend out of boredom after telling him to get away from her only to immediately instruct him to come back. “supernova” further explores this, as the duo get “supernova high like glitter in the sky” behind some of Fousheé’s silkiest vocals yet. However, it is clear that she still does not fully know what she wants amid confessions that she will never leave.
“spend the money” brings not just a feature from Lil Uzi Vert, but incredibly smooth verses from the two as they grapple with the role of money in the relationship, explaining in “die” how her boyfriend can’t afford her luxury lifestyle. A stark switch-up after the interlude brings a more reflective Fousheé to the table, marked by the sultry nodes of “unexplainable” as she sings: “We both know it’s toxic / What are you trying to preserve? / Don’t we deserve a chance / To get our flowers.” “smile” follows this up with a movie soundtrack-esque song, as a slight classical influence brings dramatic, blissful elements to an already upbeat message exploring how the previously crumbling relationship is ready to takeoff.
However, this is a short-lived feeling, with the ensuing track, “stupid bitch,” beginning with Fousheé shouting, “I’ll blow your brains out you stupid bitch.” Despite this, a nursery rhyme-feeling second half sees her acknowledge her flaws, singing, “Forgiving you / That’s my downfall.”
The early 2000s infused, fast-paced “scream my name” takes listeners through a whirlwind of a night, arriving as almost a reaction to prior heartbreak. The album closes out with “let u back in,” a beautiful expression of her undying love, yet fear of letting someone that has caused her so much pain back in her life. Despite everything they have been through, forgiving him is still her downfall.
Amid all its twists and turns, the sweet melodies, raging hooks and hardcore production of softCORE culminate at a point of self-understanding and longing for something that can never truly be perfect.
Listen to ‘softCORE’ by Fousheé below!