If you are looking for a new indie-pop sensation to sink your teeth into, look no further than Addison Grace, a 22-year-old up-and-coming artist whose musical prowess transcends boundaries. With a unique blend of introspective and humorous lyricism and captivating melodies, Addison, who uses he/they pronouns, is making waves with their debut album, Diving Lessons. The album was co-produced and recorded by Cavetown’s Robin Skinner in London. Embracing vulnerability and self-discovery, Addison’s debut album, released on September 29, delves into the depths of the complexity of their own life and feelings, and the overall teenage experience, inviting listeners to embark on a soul-stirring journey through the intricacies of life, healing, self discovery, and missing your ex’s dog.
Addison’s music was not previously on my radar before writing this review, and I cannot believe that I had not heard of them before. This eleven track album feels like a diary, with each track being a different entry, bringing on a wide different emotions as the album progresses.
The album opens with the absolute emotional banger of a prelude, “FISH,” which sets the tone for the rest of the album. This song, while not having a lot of lyrics, perfectly emulates the feeling of metaphorically being underwater and drowning. The lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks, my favorite being “It feels like everybody learned how to swim, and I somehow missed the lesson where we learned we are fish.” Woah. The way I interpreted this specific line is the feeling of alienation or being left out. It insinuates that everyone else has adapted to a certain environment or situation, while Addison feels out of place or unaware of how to fit in. It represents the feeling of not fully understanding or grasping something that is supposed to be first nature. The repeating chorus, “Just get over it” echoes that sentiment. Mixed with airy, melodic, and atmospheric instrumentation, this intro starts the album on a strong note.
We then switch gears to the second track “Pessimistic,” which finds Addison releasing his more vulnerable side. He covers a range of personal topics on top of a semi upbeat instrumental. One thing that stuck out to me in this specific track is the mentioning of their parents, specifically their father, Saying “I wanna be more than my father ever was. Never kiss a girl and take her home if I’m only here to fuck things up.” and “Some days don’t get better and some dads don’t remember.” These lyrics give us an inside look at what Addison’s relationship with his father was possibly like, and the repeating lyrics of “I’m not trying to be pessimistic” with lyrics that juxtapose that sentiment reflect Addison’s struggle with anxiety and depression and how they struggle with having a brighter mindset throughout the pain that they were facing.
Watch the video for “Pessimistic” below.
We then get into back to back emotional songs with “Strawberry” and “bath,” showing a reflective and devastating side of Addison’s mind. Both of these songs bring upon a slower pace of the album in terms of temp. “Strawberry” seems to evoke a sense of selflessness and sacrifice, where Addison is willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of another, even if it means accepting their own end. The lines about digging their own grave to nourish another’s garden suggest a willingness to give up their own life for someone else’s growth and prosperity. “bath” on the other hand packs an emotional punch hard to shake. The song represents a deep sense of emotional turmoil and pain. It touches upon themes of feeling trapped in an unhealthy relationship, struggling to find acceptance and love, and the lingering impacts of past experiences. Addison expresses a sense of betrayal and vulnerability, possibly stemming from a history of emotional abuse and neglect. The lines “Hope you live with the guilt / Until you just can’t escape it” and “Cause there’s no moving on / When you took my youth” underscore the lasting scars and the difficulty of moving forward from this deep trauma. An emotional highpoint of the album for sure.
The next song, “Say Sorry to my Brother,” was probably the hardest to interpret as it felt super personal. The song and verses touch upon themes of admiration, resentment, and struggle. The lines about wanting to be like someone and simultaneously wishing to harm them convey a conflicted emotional state, one that while shocking, one that I also relate to. The repetition of the phrase “I don’t want you to drive me home” at the end of the song represents, in my interpretation, a desire to maintain independence and distance from someone, in this case I am assuming Addison is speaking about their brother. The song seems to convey a mix of love, frustration, and a yearning for autonomy and understanding within a complicated relationship dynamic.
“Ghost in the Attic” is one of my favorites due to the lyricism and overall imagery of the song. There’s several themes of unresolved emotional turmoil, neglect, and the stagnation of growth, creating a haunting and desolate atmosphere. This is all just my personal depiction but this is what I imagine in my mind as I listen to this song. The “ghost in the attic” might symbolize the lingering presence of unresolved issues and unfulfilled desires. It signifies the persistent weight of the past on the present, with the line “Now we see through each other” conveying a sense of transparency or a lack of pretense. The house itself holds the remnants of past struggles and unresolved emotions. The mention of forgotten foreclosure hints at the abandonment of the property, evoking a feeling of desolation. Then, the final lines portray a sense of voyeurism from the outside world, as people stare through the windows, witnessing the lingering struggles within.
Watch the music video for “SLIME!” below.
The next two songs on the album, “SLIME!” and “White Lie,” are two of the pre-released singles that offer a more humorous and light feeling to the album. These two also have accompanying music videos. “SLIME!” bursts forth in a blend of frustration and melancholy, discussing the success of therapy and the feeling of like… well slime! The music video sees Addison having slime dumped on them similar to what you’d see on a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award. The video also sees Addison punching the water and swimming around in a lake while the track concludes with a raw, almost screaming vocal, representing the anger felt. Maintaining the same emotional intensity, “White Lie” serves as a farewell to those who adapt to fit the situation, rendering their connections futile with their constant façades. This video, along with the one for “SLIME!,” were both filmed with handheld camcorder cameras. This adds a sort of interesting vibe that highlights Addison’s artistry.
Watch the music video for “White Lie” below.
Following these tracks are two back to back bangers with “Something Better” and “Forgive You.”
“Something Better” sees Addison grappling with emotional turmoil and the weight of challenges. Wanting something better and the determination to adapt despite challenges and wanting to be seen as strong, in a way yearning for a purpose. “Forgive You” follows us on Addison’s journey of healing. Addison, in a little over two minutes, is able to emphasize their personal growth, the act of giving themselves space, and the closure achieved by shutting certain doors. They express a sense of detachment from the anger that once consumed them, as well as a certain level of indifference toward the messages from the other person. The lines “I’m not gonna say that I forgive you” convey a complex emotional stance, indicating that there is forgiveness but it is more for Addison’s own peace of mind rather than for them being forgiven. The song progresses with a declaration of contentment with not being in the same place as the other person, which marks the finality of moving on.
Lastly, and definitely a fan favorite, is the hilarious song “I Miss You(r Dog).” Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. The feeling of not missing your ex at all but still missing their furry little companion. Addison makes sure to make the distinction that they do NOT miss their past lover at all and all of the pain they caused them, all they miss is their dog. This offers a lighthearted and hilarious close to an amazing album.
Addison started a tour starting in North America on October 21, with the first show in Portland, Oregon. The tour ends with a hometown show in Salt Lake City on November 21. While Addison is not hitting my hometown of Las Vegas, I will be sure to check tickets out for Salt Lake City or in Los Angeles on November 18.
Look for tickets to your nearest show on Addison’s website here.