REVIEW: renforshort Addresses Mental Health in Debut Album ‘dear amelia’

Featured Photo Credit: Luke Fenstemaker

On July 8, alt-pop artist renforshort released her debut album, dear amelia. The album explores the mental health struggles corresponding with young adulthood, including dissociation, anxiety, and depression. These issues are described through expertly spun storytelling, relatable lyrics, and a depth of full sounding instrumentation. 

The album’s third track, “moshpit”, explores the exhaustion and frustration that come with a toxic relationship. renforshort chronicles feeling physically and emotionally drained as she sings, “I’m exhausted running on exhaust, it’s getting really toxic being yours”. The track experiments with dynamics and the absence of sound, inserting some silent pauses in the verses that add to the song’s theme of unpredictability. Guitar crescendos and choppy drums begin with each raging chorus as renforshort grows in desperation, begging to leave the mosh pit she’s trapped in. 

In “better off”, renforshort further explains her desire for escape. She asks if life is better on another planet while the track’s chorus slows down, giving it a floating quality as if drifting through outer space. The bridge features a deep, bass-like synth sound, and the initial guitar line is reminiscent of a tune in a 90s or 2000s coming of age film. The track describes the dissociative feeling of wanting to escape everyday human struggles, as renforshort sings, “God I hate gravity, it’s a sign of reality”.

“Julian, king of manhattan” honors Julian Casablancas, lead singer of The Strokes. With a chill, laid-back groove, renforshort sweetly implores Casablancas to give advice and reveal the inner mechanisms of his mind. In this romantic, rock-influenced piece, she declares her admiration, singing, “wanna see how the city looks through your eyes, you and your leather jacket, you’re the king of Manhattan”. 

The final song renforshort shares is “amelia,” the album’s title track. A light, airy piano line is broadened by darker, lower chords as renforshort performs this slow, sorrowful ballad. With each chorus, her voice expands into vocoder harmonies, providing a richly consuming sound. The song is both a tribute to a friend and an exploration of grief. renforshort ponders Amelia’s sentiments, asking, “Did you lose imagination, were you scared of growing up? Oh Amelia, I always wished you had a better song.” The track exemplifies the album’s overarching coverage of the young adult experience, in all its love, loss, and learning through difficulty.

renforshort is embarking on her North American headline tour this September. Tickets are on sale now.