If you do happen to be familiar with her previous work, Premonitions will probably take you by surprise. For the most part, the solemn rock that made up her previous endeavors has given way to indie rock with a pop overlay, even going as far as to throw in a splash of bubblegum pop (“Stop Talking”). Risking alienating her core fan base was an exceptionally bold move, but succeeds because she does not compromise her own authenticity. We can feel Miya allowing herself to be completely consumed by her music, which makes it much easier to let it consume us as well. Premonitions is a solid full-bodied album and presents the same spirit we all know and love just in a different form.
The work is delivered as a package of self-assured passion. In it contains tools to embrace the unknown with a sense of optimism. Miya approaches serious themes and other women’s issues but does so without displaying an attitude of defeatedness. The result is a refuge of emotional security where women are free to exist as they are without concerns of needing external validation.
This philosophy of self-confidence is immediately evident in the opening track “Thingamajig.” The track explores the idea of leaving a relationship due to an emerging desire to discover ethereal planes of existence apart from earthly romance. Whether or not the title is a reflection on the relationship’s lack of importance or the fact that she simply didn’t know what to call the song, it opens the door for interpretation and lays an excellent ground for the rest of the album. It’s soft, begins the album with the end of something and through the obscurity, there’s a reach for acceptance of new beginnings. The lyrics “Only you know what to do now” breed curiosity and in turn push the listener to stick around for another song.
This theme of hope for the future is continued through the album and is fully realized by the closing track “What We Made.” Miya blurs the lines of the present and the future with the lyrics “To be young/ To be old/ All of it is beautiful.” It may be a love song to her future significant other or her future self, or it might be her current reality. But isn’t that what the album is about? Premonitions? No matter what the subject matter is, it closes the album with an unquestionable sense of hope, which brings the ideas of “Thingamajig” full circle. Again, we’re not quite sure what she’s singing about, but there’s a desire to see what is to come even though it’s the last song. This is done so eloquently that when the song concludes, you feel this desire for the future without feeling left high and dry.
Self-care is easy when everything in life is going your way, but Miya purposefully does not stray away from the darker moments when this care is even more vital. In “Deadbody” she reminds listeners to be strong through the eras of disappointment surrounding women’s issues. The track starts with a harrowing piano strike that foreshadows the traumatic encounter of being drugged and sexually assaulted. When the goosebump-inducing bridge hits, and she cries “I’m free, I’m floating over my body on the floor/ I grab it, I tell myself, ‘don’t be ashamed anymore,’ ” it is nothing short of cathartic. Even if this is not her own personal experience, the authority in which she addresses the matter allows for womankind to find solace and understanding in an age where offenses like these are rampant.
“Stock Image” is a stirring self-serenade, acknowledging mental health and being okay with not feeling okay. The pop influences and Miya’s ascending voice makes it an incredibly noteworthy song, in spite of its simple message. Bursting in next with a brass syncopated rhythm and extreme danceability, “Leave The Party” contributes to the self-serenade of “Stock Image”, but focuses more on the fun of spending quality time with yourself. The song provides a haven of sound for women to dance in their mirrors with a classic hairbrush microphone. The juxtaposition of these songs contributes to the flow of the album and gives us the serious and fun side of the same coin.
The album easily transitions into bubblegum-esque “Stop Talking”. When it begins, the song can be likened to a Carly Rae Jepson song, so naturally, it comes with the expectation of it being a love song, but it’s actually an audacious anti-boy song. Miya finds herself in a realm away from introspection while pleading to her friend to “stop talking about that boy,” who clearly doesn’t treat her right, making her “an obvious fool.” Miya trades this put-down for a friendship serenade with “I much enjoy your brain/ the way you think is so unique… but he’s taking all the real estate”. She reminds us not to trade our minds and time for a person who doesn’t better us. We need to preserve ourselves just as she does, because “We will become the words we say, ” so we really should just “stop talking” before we become “pathetic parrot[s] repeating ‘Polly wanna cracker,’” It’s an amusing song while approaching a serious issue between companions, highlighting the idiosyncrasies of platonic friendship.
Miya Folick is now a proven figure in both rock and pop. She pulled off switching lanes just as easily as she pulls off a shaved head. The album sets a strong precedent for all of her work that follows and paints a diverse landscape of all her various relationships and emotions. She integrates the aspects of self-preservation and hope into a multidimensional work that is reflective of the real human experience and does so with lionhearted sincerity. Though this release could easily be a newcomer’s favorite album, having previously experienced and loved Miya Folick’s earlier work makes me a listener that longs for the past. Her take on pop is incredible, but let’s hope she hasn’t abandoned rock for good. Nonetheless, Premonitions is the therapeutic pop album we all needed but didn’t know how to ask for.