Album Review: “Waiting Rooms”

“Waiting Rooms” is the debut album of Maeve Aikin, a singer-songwriter from Minneapolis, MN, released November 13th, on Corkscrew Records

The album is a very personal journey into the melancholic moods and feelings of its creator, a 17 year old singer-songwriter with a chronic condition known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, I was hesitant at first to add this information, but to better understand the music, one must put himself into her shoes for a better context and POV.

The music is unabashedly DIY and lo-fi, what you’re getting is Maeve and her guitar, with small touches of keyboards in a handful of tracks, and nothing more.

The opening track, “Furniture” opens with Maeve taking a deep breath, as if to signal us about the emotional effort she’s going to put in revealing her thoughts to anyone who’s willing to listen, as her delicate voice enters the frame and shares with us a moment riddled with a deep sense of insecurity ending with the lines:

I could never make your pupils sore

I’m a sorry-eyed sight

I’m a sorry-eyed sight

I’m a sorry-eyed, sorry eyed sight

The repetition of lines is a recurring theme throughout the album, providing a sense of inner conflict, of a lack of self-assurance, while her delicate voice, which borders at fragility at times, gives us an occasional alternate glimpse at her pain, be it physical or emotional.

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The 3rd track, “Bug”, gives us a very intimate look into her physical struggle:

the doctor didn’t believe me

until he saw me through the machine

the pulsing of my bloodstream

red ocean in my knees, heart on my sleeve

Maeve spares no punches with herself nor the listener, if the last song dealt with her physical side of her pain, the 5th track, “Park”, tells us a story of an unrequited love:

we left our shoes in the shed outside

you tell me all about the girl you like

I want to move to another universe

where you didn’t say that

The Highlight of the album, if I could pick one, is the 4th track, “Harriet”, a song part self-reflection, part unwritten letter to a friend, with a small glimmer of hope at the end.

Maeve did an amazing job of putting her inner turmoil to words and music, my listening experience of her debut left me with a sense of sadness and anger, both at the sheer unfairness that a person her age, on the verge of womanhood, has to deal with so much pain and suffering, my only hope is that her next offering will deal with happier, let alone positive, circumstances.

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