Three years ago, the Richmond, Virginia singer-songwriter Natalie Prass made her debut with a ridiculously gorgeous self-titled album full of immaculate, starry-eyed orchestral pop music. That first album was personal and intimate, but its inspirations were things like ’70s studio pop and classic Disney soundtracks. It burst with ideas and melody and optimism. Next week, Prass will release her sophomore album The Future And The Past. And this time around, things are different.
Prass’ melodic gifts are still fully intact. She’s got an expertly breezy voice, and she’s still working with Matthew E. White, who produced the self-titled album and who’s an expert at layering mellow sounds in funky ways. But this time around, Prass, like so many of us, is thinking about the state of the world. She says she scrapped an entire album after the 2016 election. And while the new album isn’t exactly Rage Against The Machine, it’s shot through with the sadness of watching the world going down a dark path.
The music is different, too. This time around, Prass is drawing on things like disco and ’90s R&B-pop. The sound is crisper and more rhythmically focused, and her songs have a strut that they didn’t have before. We’ve posted the early tracks “Short Court Style,” “Sisters,” and “Lost,” and now you can stream the whole thing at NPR.
The Future And The Past is out 6/1 via ATO.