Parties, sex, and mistakes, or, overcoming them: Chastity Belt has a charming history of expressing their emotions on these subjects in past albums. But between the glamorous scenes that accompany young adolescence are those crushing, hollow moments where you lose yourself over, and over, and over again. Chastity Belt’s newest masterpiece takes us on a tour of Julia Shapiro’s reflections on mental obstacles, something she has overcome (and mentions in the first track).
I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone does a complete 180-degree turn from the chill party vibes outlined in previous albums and opens with a track that nails the tone of the whole album. “Different Now” holds the answer to the rest of the album. “You’ll find in time / All the answers that you seek.” Opening with just percussion and a single repetitive bass line, it unfolds with mellow guitars that solidify the gravity of the album. It reflects those feelings you experience after you’ve come out of a dark time. The album veers then to hone in on feelings that are very much alluded to in their title tracks. The lyrics are introspective, viewing the self as the antagonist, like those in the third track or those in “5am.” “It’s 5am and I’m full of hate / On a buzz, feel the waves in my brain / Saying things I shouldn’t say.” Others examine those feelings inflicted by external factors. In “It’s Obvious,” Julia seems to enlighten feelings inflicted by love interests. “I can hold your interest, but only for a short time.” The eighth track, “Something Else,” seems to be the embodiment of anxiety.
However, among the stillness created in the album, Chastity Belt also hints at those moments of recovery and self-reflection that build the individual back up. I recommend giving “What the Hell,“ “Used to Spend,” and “I’m Fine” a listen and developing your own thoughts. To me, these reflect the pieces of the puzzle inside our minds as they begin to fit themselves back together.
I believe that Chastity Belt has released their most touching work so far, and their lyrical and musical growth has been outstanding. It’s a bold move to approach mental obstacles in this manner, and they turned out successful. The work should be listened to as a whole, and more than once to really appreciate the full value of what it has to offer.