Songs – By Adrianne Lenker

An Album Review
Songs - By Adrianne Lenker

Songs – An Album

On October 23rd, 2020, Adrianne Lenker, released one of her solo projects. The album is now known as Songs. Written after the divorce of her husband and during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is one of Adrianne Lenkers most popular albums to this date. Right now you might be wondering, “who is Adrianne Lenker?” or “what is this album about?”. In this article, I will be going over and reviewing every song on the 11 track album. 

Who is Adrianne Lenker?

Before diving into the album, you might be wondering who Adrianne Lenker even is. Born on July 9th, 1991 in Indianapolis, Indiana, she spent her early years living in a musical family. Inspired by the 1960’s folk scene, she wrote her first song at the age of 8. She recorded her first album a few years later at 13. A few months after releasing her second album, Hours Were the Birds, she met her future band mate and husband, Buck Meek. With him and two other members, she was part of a band known as Big Thief. She traveled with the band as their head vocalist until the pandemic hit in 2020. Unable to travel and perform as well as going through the aftermath of a divorce, she went and stayed in a small cabin in Western Massachusetts. That is where she wrote and produced her album known as Songs.

Here you can see Adrianne Lenker in a field of flowers. This image comes from her most recent Instagram post.

Songs – The review

1.) Two Reverses

This song gives a nice, warm opening to the album. The lyrics give the listener a sense that the writer is yearning” something, which is an interesting take because of the mix of different words. Lines like “Is it a crime to say I still need you?” really show the emotion of missing someone. The song takes a deep topic like such and turns it into a warm and soft melody.
Rating – 7/10

Here is the album cover for Songs. The hand drawn artwork really ties together the album.

2.) Ingydar

Right away, the mellow guitar at the beginning of the song sets the tone for it and the album itself. With it being the second song in the album, I feel as if it matches the whole album very well. The song almost is a metaphor for the circle of life, with lines like “everything eats and is eaten” really going with that. The whole song is a play on symbolism, and is a relaxing listen.
Rating – 9/10

3.) Anything

This was probably the first song by Adrianne Lenker I have ever listened to. The song is a play on different relationships and how they affect someone. Relationships with family, friends, and significant others can be hinted on in the lyrics. This is one of my favorite Adrianne Lenker songs, just because of the lyrics. The lyrics are so thoughtful and powerful that they just stay with you.
Rating – 10/10

4.) Forwards Beckon Rebound

This is definitely my favorite song in this album and by Adrianne Lenker. The beginning guitar melody is what caught my attention at first, with the interesting alternation. The song depicts both sides of the world and humanity, both light and dark. We can see this symbolism in lines like, “Villain and violent / infant and innocent”. This play on words has the two sides contrasting each other. This song definitely took me in and is an amazing listen.
Rating – 10/10

5.) Heavy Focus

The guitar melody takes a turn with this song. Unlike the last three songs, the melody goes back to something more sweet and warm similar to the first song. The song gives off a feeling as if it’s trying to capture a fleeting moment, like taking a picture. This can be felt when the word “focus” is repeated a few times at the end of the song. Its sweet melody and soft guitar really tie into the album well.
Rating – 6/10

Here you can see Adrianne Lenker working on music. This was her writing and recording Songs in the tiny cabin she was staying at.

6.) Half Return

This is another one of my favorite Adrianne Lenker songs. The lyrics in the song almost give it an effect as if it’s reminiscing on childhood memories. This can be seen with the line, “rusty swing set, plastic slide / push me up and down, take me for a ride.” Overall, this song almost gives off a nostalgic vibe, with the guitar sounding a little more upbeat than the previous songs.
Rating – 9/10

7.) Come

This is one of the more melancholic songs on the album. The rain in the background of the track, as well as the quieter guitar help set the tone for the rest of the song. It has a short guitar opening to start the song as well. The song takes a deep look on a relationship between a parent and their kid. The first line, “come help me die, my daughter” really proves that. The lines “don’t be afraid, my girl,” and “I’m not cold,” could be seen as reassuring words a parent would tell their kid.
Rating – 7/10

8.) Zombie Girl

“Zombie Girl” is definitely different from the rest of the album, only going off of what the song means. The song depicts what sleep paralysis and possibly hallucinations could be like. The line “sleep paralysis, I sworn I could have felt you there” and “dreaming I could feel your skin,” both suggest the ideas for sleep paralysis and hallucinations. The simplicity of the guitar in the song is almost contradicting the deeper meaning, because it is a serious topic.
Rating – 6/10

9.) Not a lot, just forever

This song is another one where the words are very thoughtful and just stick with you. Lines like “not a lot, just forever,” play on how significant a short memory can be. The rest of the song describes moments, in what the listener can imagine to be a relationship. It talks about small moments that would last with Lenker forever, even though they were small. The intricate guitar melody adds to the feeling, and really stays with you when listening to the song.

This is Adrianne performing at her most recent show in Brooklyn. She played one of her newest songs during the concert.

Rating – 9/10

10.) Dragon eyes

This song has more of a light melody compared to the last song. It gives a play on something that is unattainable. In the song she writes “ I don’t wanna tame you,” which goes directly to that idea. Knowing that something is unattainable and not wanting to change it, but still wanting “a place” with it is an incredible description of what some may feel. Especially when talking about love.
Rating – 7/10

11.) My angel

This song starts off with a very long guitar opening that is light and warm. The melody shifts a little bit as she starts singing. The song takes a more emotional turn as it progresses, diving into topics such as protection. Using angels to represent protection in the song is very symbolic, because that’s what angels are known for. The sudden turn in melody and mood are definitely a little surprising, but it all ties in together well to end off the album.
Rating – 8/10

My Final Take

Overall, I am definitely not surprised as to why this is her most popular album. The whole album is jam packed with thoughtful emotions that get the listener really thinking. I think that Adrianne Lenker’s works are one of a kind, and that everyone should give her a listen, regardless of what genre you’re into.


Adrianne Lenker. (2024, April 3). Wikipedia.

Nast, C. (n.d.). Adrianne Lenker: songs / instrumentals. Pitchfork.

Songs. Adrianne Lenker. (2020) Songs. [Album]. 4AD

The musicians who inspire Adrianne Lenker to follow curiosity. (2023, August 11).

What is the most popular album by Adrianne Lenker? (n.d.). Genius. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from

Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Elmwood Park High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger