The dream of moving to L.A. and making it big as a musician seems virtually impossible when taking into account how many thousands of other people want it as bad as you do. But when superstars like Troye Sivan ask you to help co-write songs, you can’t help but realize that you’ve got something special about you. In her third studio album, singer-songwriter Allie X takes the challenges she’s faced as an aspiring musician, and in turn uses them to her advantage to create the authentic masterpiece that is “Super Sunset.”
Originally from Canada, Alexandra Hughes (known professionally as Allie X) came to Los Angeles in hopes of manifesting her desire to be an artist. While many people talk about the glamour and superstardom that exudes from this city, what they often fail to acknowledge is the roller coaster ride that paves the road to success: a winding path full of excitement and growth, but also fears and failures. With musical intros and interludes adding to the eight track album, “Super Sunset” becomes the soundtrack to Allie X’s four-year journey starting from the moment she hopped off the plane at L.A.X. with a dream and her cardigan (though in this case, it would probably be more of a fur coat), leading all the way up to the imprint she’s made in the music scene of today.
“Not So Bad in LA” is an absolute lyrical gem. Full of sarcasm and witty illusions, X paints the real desperation that protrudes on every corner of Los Angeles. “The Venice girls smile with the whites if their teeth / All licking their lips for a quick fifteen,” she sings referencing the fact that people in the city will do anything they can for a mere fifteen minutes of fame.
Though half-sarcastic, for Allie X, “Not So Bad in LA” taps into a much more personal battle. Los Angeles is full of aspiring actors, musicians, models, writers and dancers, all with the goal of actualizing their dreams. However, even in this palm tree oasis studded with an endless array pink stars imprinted on Hollywood Blvd., there’s only room for so many stars to shine.
Allie X, who is 33, already feels as if she is behind on her journey as she sings “In a city that lives while its stars die / And you start to feel old when you turn 25.” The track is like movie script whose plot doesn’t dance around reality, and yet Allie chooses to stay here and see how the movie ends.
A glistening synth-pop track, “Girl of the Year” becomes the most musically enticing song on the album. Here, X shares her inability to keep her significant other fully interested and invested in her and though it feels as if someone is going to take her place, she’s committed to fight for her spot as girl of the year. While the most obvious interpretation of the song would be regarding a personal relationship, it also hones in on her professional relationship and her devotion to her career, regardless of its unpredictability.
These challenges she’s faced along the way ultimately lead to “Can’t Stop Now,” on which she states “You can pull me in / You can push me out / Still I’m on my way / I can’t stop now.” Her decision to stay in this “ghost town” has given her to means to discover herself and grow as an artist.
Evolving from her previous albums, “CollXtion I” and “CollXtion II,” her third release is daring and multifaceted, drawing people into her most intimate feelings and major turning points in her career. Her shift from stereotypical pop songs to a more authentic sound combining upbeat synths with melodic chords, alongside her ethereal vocals, is audacious for a dream-pop singer, and yet it created some kind of euphoric masterpiece. Allie X’s transition from pop to a less formulaic sound results in a uniqueness that can only be described as experimental exceptionalism.
“Super Sunset” goes against the misconceptions of the music industry and the belief that an emerging artist has to look or sound a certain way in order to gain success. It’s proof that chasing dreams is not as pointless as we sometimes believe. It’s a glimmer of hope to anyone, including Allie X herself, that success is just around the corner, so long as you push yourself and give yourself the time to grow.