The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘Underdressed at the Symphony’ finds comfort in simplicity, delicately captures heartbreak

Rating: 7.2/10


No one does heartbreak better than Faye Webster. 

Since the release of her 2013 debut album “Run and Tell,” Webster has always been able to accurately capture love and loss; each album is a spellbinding remembrance of tangled relationships and fragile breakups. 

Webster’s fifth studio album, “Underdressed at the Symphony,” focuses less on the complex lyricism that has been a driving factor of her previous albums and more on the ambiance.

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Although it’s not as lyrical as some of her other projects, themes of heartbreak and loss still guide the melodies. It’s a sheltered declaration of grief that sits under layers of sprawling orchestration — lulling strings, idle guitars and discordant piano chords. 

The first track, “Thinking About You,” is guided by the simple strum of the guitar and mellow chords of the piano. If you’re looking at the surface level, you won’t find much depth in the lyrics.

The simple phrase “thinking about you” is repeated listlessly throughout the song, with Webster’s wispy vocals gliding effortlessly through the chorus. 

She conveys everything without saying much of anything; the song’s hypnotic repetitions are resigned and patient, offering listeners a shimmering glimpse into her past relationship.

The following track, “But Not Kiss,” is the most elaborate song on the album, as the clashing piano chords vibrate off of each other as Faye’s airy vocals break past the wall of simplicity that makes up the majority of the album. 

“I want to sleep in your arms but not kiss,” Webster hums gently before the discordance of the piano crashes in. “I long for your touch but don’t miss.”

Each polarizing statement is met by the jarring instrumentation that weaves its way throughout the song, leaving you feeling slightly disoriented. 

It’s the fragile yearning for the simple, the untainted and the uncomplicated matched with the indecisiveness of wanting something that you can’t have. It’s a delicate and longing confessional that perfectly captures the essence of heartbreak. 

Track three, “Wanna Quit All the Time,” is also one of the more intricate songs on the album, glimpsing into Webster’s apparent fear of change and her efforts to prepare for it.

“I think I’ll figure it out,” she sings faintly, and you can’t tell if she really means it, or if they’re just comforting words. 

“Wanna Quit All the Time,” is immersed in glimmering chimes and carefree guitars that glide effortlessly through the lyrics. The melody is cozy and relaxed, giving you almost a false sense of comfort, masking the tangled emotions and lyricism that make up the song.

“Lego Ring,” featuring Lil Yachty, takes on a more energetic feel from the rest of the album. It’s jolting, almost grating compared to “Wanna Quit All the Time,” but beneath the thudding drums and heavily autotuned voices there is a sense of yearning for youth, both the simple and the complex parts of it. 

“Underdressed at the Symphony” can feel stagnant at times, as the lyrics lull repetitively and the orchestra lazily glides through the second half of the album. The piano often sounds sluggish as it cautiously heeds the lyrics, careful to not disrupt Webster’s simple melodies.

It’s mundane. It’s boring and unhurried, even repetitive at times. But you can still find solace within the repetitiveness, and there is something reassuring about the ambling melodies and the constant lull of the lyrics. 

The 10th song and title track of the album is one of the most delicate songs on the project, led by swirling instrumentation and melancholy lyrics. The melodies build gracefully as the swooping chords of the piano beautifully sprawl throughout the song. 

“I’m depriving myself of happiness,” Webster sings, her vocals soft and delicate. “Something I’m really good at/ I wanna see you again.” 

“Underdressed at the Symphony” invites you to find comfort in simplicity. At first glance, the 37-minute-long album is simple and reserved, lacking the lyrical depth that has given Webster so much fame. 

However, being uncomplicated isn’t a bad thing, and there is still plenty of depth hidden within the album. You just have to know where to look for it. 


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About the Contributor
Annisyn Krebs-Carr
Annisyn Krebs-Carr, Senior buzz Reporter
Hi, I’m Annisyn! I am currently a freshman majoring in journalism. I started with The Daily Illini in Fall 2023 as a buzz staff writer, and became Senior buzz Reporter in the spring. I’m excited to be a part of The DI editorial team, and I’m looking forward to writing more arts and entertainment content. When I’m not writing for The DI, I enjoy playing with my dogs and watching movies. For any questions or concerns feel free to contact me at my email below.
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