SXSW 2018: Soccer Mommy’s “Scorpio Rising” Is The Only Song

Soccer Mommy kind of dresses like Avril Lavigne. When she walked onto the Fader Fort stage yesterday, Sophie Allison wore a pair of black leather platform docs, a black leather choker (perhaps an homage to her song “Your Dog”), and carried her guitar on a hot pink checkerboard strap. She embodied the early 2000s without making it look schtick-y, not peddling nostalgia so much as proudly showing off formative influences. And while Soccer Mommy’s rock ’n’ roll does pull from the ‘90s and early-aughts (she is touring with Liz Phair soon, after all), her songs do more than remind you of some great artist of yesteryear. They psychically transport you to another time and place, they return you to youth in a way that is unexpected and pure and a little bit heartbreaking

“Scorpio Rising” is the centerpiece of Soccer Mommy’s recent release Clean. It appears toward the end of the album, and it exemplifies the very best songwriting Allison has to offer at this point in her career. Allison knows that, and when she ended her Fort set with it, she told the audience that it’s her personal favorite. “Scorpio Rising” initiates as deceptively basic, with Allison singing about kissing in a park and meeting up with a crush after dark. And then it starts to unfurl into this story about relinquishing a love you want badly but know you cannot maintain.

That’s a wise realization for a young songwriter, especially one who boldly sang about not wanting to be someone’s “fucking dog” on the lead single of this album. She doesn’t posture any differently, though; “Scorpio Rising” is littered with references to teendom, like when Allison sings about ignoring “all the missed calls from your mother” and hooking up in the backseat of a car until dawn. They are references that a lot of people, no matter their age, can relate to — small reminders of summer romances that came and went too soon. The most gutting moment in the song comes when the narrator gives it all away as this summer fling starts to take flight, falling for someone who is her exact opposite. “You want warm and I’m something colder/ I’m putting your hands to her heart.”

The lack of resentment in that line makes me feel like Allison has tapped into a level of emotional maturity on this song that a lot of people never get anywhere close to. It’s resigned and sad, yes, but it isn’t bitter. That’s a really hard feeling to avoid when you’re watching someone you love willingly choose someone else. There are a lot of great lyrical moments on “Scorpio Rising,” like in the second verse when Allison sings about being a “victim of changing planets/ My scorpio rising and my parents,” but that one line when she admits defeat feels like it weighs 1000 pounds. Allison carries it with grace.