I Know I’m Funny haha
Faye Webster is a musician from Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s her fourth album, it’s called I Know I’m Funny Haha. She self-released her debut, aged 16, and was instantly compared to other wise-beyond-their-years talents – perhaps most obviously Laura Marling. Someone referenced Jackson Browne, and fair enough – he wrote These Days when he was 16. Kate Bush might have been mentioned too, since she wrote some great songs as a teen, even released two albums before she was 20.
Webster’s new album is her all grown up. (She’s in her early 20s still). All grown up in the sense that any irony is gone – previous albums had killer one-liners, sarcastic ennui, bored detachment. It was wonderful, by the way. But you know, you have to move on. That’s what she’s done here. Still writing great songs – still singing the heck out of them. A crack session band behind her, similar production vibe/feel to her previous record. And some great lines still. If you’re already familiar with her there’s nothing at all that should turn you off. But if this is your introduction: Welcome. There’s so much to love about the way Faye Webster writes and sends a song.
I liked the first two albums but really fell for her sound with 2019’s Atlanta Millionaire’s Club. I suggested she made songs that would sound like Burt Bacharach writing and arranging for the “Netflix and chill” generation. I said she was funny, but also that she beautifully conveyed heartbreak. In that sense her voice, her songs, her style – and the playing and arrangements – had traces of both Natalie Prass and the Bic Runga of Birds. (I LOVE Bic Runga’s album Birds. I love Natalie Prass’ 2015 self-titled debut and her 2018 follow-up, The Future and The Past).
Webster is not only a self-taught musician that seemingly arrived fully formed, she’s a professional photographer and a part-time model as well. None of that factors into my enjoyment of her music – but I feel obliged to share this information in the Like & Subscribe world of today. And it speaks to the fact that she’s more than just a wee bit talented eh.
Webster hides hints of hip-hop around the edges of her songs. She makes gorgeous pop songs that never feel like an excuse for product placement, nor do they exist for any other drama other than the detail in and of the song. She sells forlorn without any insincerity. She sells sincerity without any unctuousness. She makes music that you can like regardless of your age – there’s no worry about being unhip, nor any stress that one should be trying to be hip. (Using words like ‘hip’ outs you right away at any rate). You just get to like this music. Because it’s great.
And the forlorn balladry this time around (Sometimes) is up another level, super killer. There’s something so sublime about the sad-sack ennui she effortlessly skulks into place. It wouldn’t work if she didn’t mean it. It wouldn’t work if the playing wasn’t so precise. It wouldn’t work without her real-world concerns on display. This is the music of today, for today, with just enough of a foot in the past, arrangement-wise, to link it to a line of pop balladry.
I sometimes think this album is the truly great Karen Carpenter solo record we never got to hear.
I can think of no higher praise than that. So I’ll stop. Right now. Here. With a final sentence. There. I did it. Eventually. Haha.