maybe i will see you at the end of the world is the debut studio album from Phoenix-based singer-songwriter Sydney Sprague and due for release on February 26, 2021 via Rude Records. Influenced by the likes of Sixpence None the Richer and Avril Lavigne and billed as a “punk rock Kacey Musgraves,” Sprague began writing songs at a young age with encouragement from her parents. She eventually pursued music as a career, releasing a few EPs, and recently becoming the first solo female artist on Rude Records. In early 2020, she traveled to Seattle, Washington teaming up with producer Sam Rosson to record her debut album, which is finally here.
Prior to listening to this album, I had never heard of Sprague. A few members of the team here at Spinning Thoughts are massive fans of her and highly anticipated this album. To see what everyone was raving about, I decided to check out some of the singles from the album that were out. I started with “steve,” which I really enjoyed. I thought Sprague had a really unique voice and I’m a sucker for anything that sounds like it came out of the 90s (or the early 2000s). Upon the first listen, Sprague’s sound reminded me a lot of Soccer Mommy’s work, almost a blend of both her records.
I wasn’t too crazy about the next single “staircase failure,” which was good but didn’t have that same pull that “steve” did. However, after listening to the third single “object permanence” with its full-on 90s alternative rock vibes, I had to listen to the full album. At this point I got strong Michelle Branch vibes from her (although less polished and grittier in terms of production) and needed to hear more. And man, does the appropriately titled maybe i will see you at the end of the world deliver.
The beginning of the record feels like stepping into a time machine and taking a field trip to the late 90s. The opener “i refuse to die” is a short but solid intro that starts slow before exploding in energy. The next track is “objective permanence” and is easily my favorite track on the record. Featuring vocals from her friend and fellow Phoenix singer-songwriter Danielle Durack, the tracks hard-hitting lyrics about isolation and separation really hit me, especially during a time like now. I love the jangly guitars that dominate the track. Coming back to “steve,” written about Sprague being fed up with the state of her life at the time of writing and starting over, I thought about fellow Arizona rockers The Maine and how well this song would’ve fit on the band’s third album Pioneer, that explores a similar sound.
Starting with “you have to stop,” the record takes a darker acoustic turn for a while, minus the tracks “staircase failure” and “what u want.” These tracks feature rich acoustics, sparse percussion, atmospheric vocals from Sprague, and perhaps the most personal moments on the record. Musically, tracks like “you have to stop” and “quitter” (displaying more of a semi-acoustic vibe) made me feel like a was sitting around a campfire with my friends, bringing me back to when my friends and I had bonfires.
Lyrically, we hear Sprague pouring her heart out on these tracks. Aside from the instrumentation, one of the strongest elements of maybe i will see you at the end of the world is its songwriting. Sprague is so honest and intimate with her lyrics to the point where it almost feels like I know her personally. Particularly after listening to “quitter,” “wrongo” and “what u want,” I wanted to call her up and tell her that everything’s going to be alright.
For the final two tracks on the record, we return to full band function. I absolutely love the guitars and the vocal harmonies on “time is gone.” The final track, “end of the world,” brings the record full circle. The outro is short, like the opener, but follows a much more mellow vibe unlike the buildup to the explosion of energy on “i refuse to die.” I really wish this track was longer because it’s such a beautiful song and it left me wanting so much more.
maybe i will see you at the end of the world is an excellent debut album with hard-hitting lyrics and excellent late 90s alternative rock and early 2000s pop rock instrumentation. It’s easily one of my favorite albums of the year thus far. It’s the perfect album for those struggling with isolation and depression during the ongoing pandemic. This is the record you need to hear. Despite the album being written and recorded before things got as bad as they are now, it certainly goes along way with helping listeners come to terms with the current situation and continuing to navigate through it. The record also brings a sign of hope that we’ll get through all of this. Sydney Sprague is here to stay and I can’t wait to see what she does next.