- i don't use a trash can
- Full Time Job
- Alley Light
- Almost Pulled Away
- When a Plant Is Dying
- What Kind of Dream is This?
- Finally Rain
Full Time Hobby
Squirrel Flower has always gilded her sounds with engaging emotion but on this one she's dug deeper and added a lo-fi layer of scuzz which really ratchets up the impact.
While her early work is often hushed and minimal, there has always been a barely contained storm in Williams’ music. Tomorrow’s Fire is that storm breaking open, a rock record, made to be played loud. As if to signal this shift, the album opens with the soaring “i don’t use a trash can,” a re-imagining of the first ever Squirrel Flower song. Here, she nods to those early shows, when her voice, looped and minimalistic,had the power to silence a room. Lead singles “Full Time Job” and “When a Plant is Dying,” narrate the universal desperation that comes with living as an artist and pushing up against a world where that’s a challenging thing to be. The frustration in Williams’ lyrics is echoed by the music’s uninhibited, ferocious production.
“There must be more to life/ Than being on time,” she sings on the latter’s towering chorus. Lyrics like that one are fated to become anthemic, and Tomorrow’s Fire overflows with them. “Doing my best is a full time job/ But it doesn’t pay the rent” Williams sings on “Full Time Job” over careening feedback, her steady delivery imposing order over a song that is, at its heart, about a loss of control.
The album glides effortlessly over emotional states of being, lightness and heaviness. “Intheskatepark,”written in the summer of 2019, four years later sounds like a dispatch from a bygone world. The scuzzypop production nods to Guided By Voices, as Williams sings about crushing under summer sunshine. “I had a light,” Williams repeats mournfully on “Stick,” her voice at once aching and powerful, a sense of rage fermenting as the song goes on, until it explodes in the second half. “This song is about not wanting to compromise, just being at the end of your rope,” Williams says.
“Stick” harnesses that exasperation and turns it into a battle cry for anyone who is exhausted but feels like they’re not working hard enough,who had to get a job they hate to make rent, who lost their light and can’t seem to find it again. Finding that light is important. “I feel like I lost myself for a bit”, Williams says, “trying hard to be what I thought people wanted me to be, suffocated by the pressure of being perceived. Now, I want to be unapologetic, uncompromising.’ Role models like Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, and PJ Harvey, alongside inspiration from contemporaries and friends led Williams to the most uncompromising version of her music.
Williams also cites artists like Jason Molina, Tom Waits, and Springsteen as fonts of inspiration for Tomorrow’s Fire, musicians who knew how to write into the mind of a stranger, who could tell you the story of a life in under four minutes. “The songs I write are not always autobiographical, but they’re always true,” Williams says. Nowhere is Springsteen heard more clearly than on “Alley Light,” an electrifying song narrated from the perspective of a down-on-his-luck guy whose car is fated to die anyday now and whose girl just wants to escape. There’s a vintage sheen to it, but “Alley Light” captures the very familiar feelings of loss that come with living in a 21st century city, where you blink and the store fronts change. Williams notes, ‘It’s about a man in me, or a man who I love, or even a man who is a stranger to me.’