Faye Webster reimagines old songs with new, dreamy renditions on Car Therapy Sessions EP

Faye Webster reimagines old songs with new, dreamy renditions on Car Therapy Sessions EP

Sage Dunlap, Life & Arts Reporter

Faye Webster’s 2021 album I Know I’m Funny haha struck gold with critics, receiving recognition on favorite albums of the year lists from major music publications such as Pitchfork and Paste Magazine. Celebrated for its conversational songwriting style bubbling with personality, the album solidified Webster as one of the indie scene’s most emotive songwriters.

However, on her most recent EP Car Therapy Sessions, Webster puts the breaks on songwriting and, instead, sonically reimagines a series of songs from her 2021 release in addition to her 2019 album Atlanta Millionaires Club. Composer and arranger Trey Pollard reworked four songs with a 24-piece orchestra and arranged a musical composition for the album’s titular single “Car Therapy.” The unexpected combination of Webster’s no-frills lyricism and Pollard’s grand orchestral sound dazzles, making Car Therapy Sessions a thrilling listen for fans old and new.

Last week, days before releasing the EP on April 29, Webster uploaded a music video on Youtube to accompany the collection’s fourth track “Suite: Jonny,” a reworked version of a 2019 track that chronicles a blindsided Webster after a breakup. The video opens with Pollard in action, conducting with his back to the camera, while leading a room of string performers. In a small recording booth to the side, Webster utters the song’s opening line, “I’m losing my mind.” The R&B-inspired track, which originally began with isolated, mellow drum beats, now opens with the quiet vibration of a violin string, which eventually blends into a piano melody to kick off the song with a more solemn tone. The track even closes with a spoken monologue from Webster, reminiscent of a noir ‘50s film. 

The remaining reimagined tracks — “Kind Of (Type of Way),” “Sometimes (Overanalyze)” and “Cheers (To You & Me)” — come from the musician’s I Know I’m Funny haha project. In these three songs, the new arrangements work to exacerbate emotions prompted by the original versions. In “Sometimes,” Webster tells of a flame who left her for “someone who looks just like (her).” While the original song, backed with low-key drums and a harp, sounds like a coffee-table conversation with an old friend, the revamped EP version evokes a heartbreaking confessional and a feeling of emptiness that can overwhelm even the most removed listener. The stinging violin arrangements pull at the heartstrings, giving a completely new and more emotional tone to an already gloomy song.

Among the collection of rearranged tracks, the completely new track “Car Therapy” blends in beautifully with the rest of the project. Detailing the familiar feeling of becoming too occupied by emotion to tend to daily tasks, the song contains some of Webster’s most vulnerable songwriting to date. In desperate, despondent breaths, Webster describes her scene, sitting in a car, purchasing plastic flowers because she “can barely take care of (her)self.”

Webster’s songwriting and Pollard’s explosive arrangements on Car Therapy Sessions cumulate in the perfect soundtrack for a contemplative drive, and maybe a relieving cry as well. Though the instrumentation does not vary much from song to song, which can become repetitive by the end of the EP, the arrangements ultimately sound cinematic and breathe new life into old songs. Car Therapy Sessions feels less like a collection of songs and more like a cohesive soundtrack to a melodramatic film. Whimsical and dramatic, Webster stuck the landing with this orchestral project. 

 

4 plastic flowers out of 5