Marissa Nadler’s incredibly personal For My Crimes encapsulates striking vulnerability and yet, at the same time, is accessible and inviting for the newcomer. On the record, she has synthesized various strands of the music community on the softer end of the spectrum into a deeply memorable art-indie experience.
She has carefully translated what feels like real life into her newest collection of songs. The album feels hard to pin down and classify, in large part because of just how personal she’s made it. There’s no overwhelming loss of substance under the weight of any aims to be musically soft, and there’s no overly campy feeling, either. It’s in part as if she’s speaking directly to the listener at times. At least, the image of herself she’s incorporated into the album feels like she’s seeking to invite the listener into her world.
On that note, though, at times there’s a feeling of being let in on something that we as listeners otherwise would never have seen or heard about. The album is in part less of a conversation and more of a view. After all, not everyone will relate to some of the exact stories Nadler incorporates into the album, like being unable to listen to Gene Clark without a particular person by one’s side. In that way, Nadler has raised her work far above something that’s just about relaying a message or connecting with the listener on some point. She’s provided an elevated listening experience for fans.
Nadler expresses this core in the music she’s included on For My Crimes, and not just in the lyrical content. The album is a step above purely acoustic work, featuring some notable contributions from artists like harpist Mary Lattimore in addition to Nadler’s own playing. The musical side of the album relays a hazy but truly substantive soundscape with a gentle, continuous push via memorable melody that’s all colored by Nadler’s voice and defined in part by a continued return to a center of gentle guitar playing.
The sounds of For My Crimes honestly tie in well with the album art itself, which is a somewhat hazy landscape piece that Nadler herself created. The album altogether is an incredibly unified and personable work of art.