Silence Between Songs by Madison Beer // Album Review

Silence Between Songs* is the stunning sophomore album by Madison Beer that incorporates pop and jazz music with a wistful orchestration. It sounds so grand and cinematic, much like Lana Del Rey's signature style, which is an artist that she cited as an inspiration many times. Madison has such a beautifully lush voice, which is on full display throughout this record.

I first heard of Madison sometime around 2013 through Justin Bieber posting a link to one of her covers on YouTube. Soon after, she signed a contract with his manager, Scooter Braun, and Justin personally signed her to his label, Island Records. She was only about 12 years old at the time, which is quite a unique origin story to have! Her music career has been through some ebbs and flows over the past decade or so, but in the past couple of years she has released some really great music and her evolution since that time is so apparent. Aside from releasing a few singles and EPs through the years, it wasn't until 2021 that she finally released her first full-length studio album, Life Support*. Although it is an album that has had to grow on me with time, I ultimately find myself now returning to it very often. Songs like "Stained Glass" and "Selfish" are absolutely incredible and a testament to her pure vocal talents. She definitely leans into the style of those songs on this album, which is a great direction for her to be going in. 

The first half of Silence Between Songs* is especially really beautiful, lyrically it dives into topics surrounding her mental health, struggling with the feeling that she had to grow up too fast, her childhood and family. She recently published her first book, titled The Half Of It*, which I haven't had the chance to read yet, but as far as I know she really delves into that part of her life in a really vulnerable way. Because of that, I think the book is going to be a great companion to this album to understand these songs in a much deeper way. 

The album opens with "Spinnin", which is one of my favorite songs that she has released yet. Lyrically and vocally, it is one of her strongest, I love the way it keeps building and building up to the end of the song. It is such a vulnerable depiction of her mental health, feeling like she is spiraling mentally as the world is also spinning around her. "I woke up, fell back to sleep, 'cause I'd rather live in my dreams, I lay here wondering why? Did the world stop spinnin'? Am I frozen in time? 'Cause the birds stopped singin', are we flawed by design?" she sings. It reminds me of Ariana Grande's "get well soon" and St. Vincent's "Live In The Dream" which are two of my favorite songs by both of them. It is such a powerful and emotional opening to the album that gives me chills every time I hear it. Toward the mid-point of the album, she shows herself on the other side of this mental spiral that inspired "Spinnin" on track seven, "I Wonder". It is one of the more optimistic songs on the album, with an upbeat jazzy sound to it. "And now each breath of air is sweeter, birds are singin', grass is greener, suddenly, the world is bright again", she sings in the chorus. 

"Envy the Leaves" is also such a highlight of the album for me, it may be one of the best songs she has released yet. It is so simplistic in the production and in the lyrical metaphors used, but that level of minimalism makes it feel so meaningful at the same time. It is written as if it is a poem, taking the listener through the seasons with vivid imagery of nature and the world around us. "I envy the leaves that grow from the trees, they're all so carefree through the seasons, unaware of the fall", she sings in the opening lines. It is a stunning song, with her wishing she were able to just live her life without fearing the unknown and what is going to come next, just like the like the leaves that fall from the trees and the snow unaware that it is going to eventually melt. The instrumental breakdown in the outro is also such an unexpected, but moving, way to end the song. 

Throughout the Silence Between Songs*, Madison shines the most during the more introspective moments of the album. Lyrically she is at her strongest when she is looking inward at herself and reflecting on her own past. The listener can really feel all of the deep emotions she is conveying on those songs where she is the most vulnerable. She goes in detail about her life growing up on songs like "17" and "Ryder", the latter of which is named after her younger brother. "17" was written about her life between the ages of 17 and 21, which she has cited as one of the hardest times she has gone through. She sings, "No memories, like black and white TV and everybody says it'll be okay, like life is just a game, but I don't wanna play". On TikTok, she talked about the process of writing this song and using it as a chance to give herself the grace and forgiveness now that she didn't give herself back then at 17. She said, "...something I wanted to make kind of clear in this song was like always prefacing the chorus with like, 'I hope she knows I wouldn't blame her', 'cause I think it's important to give your younger self as much empathy as possible. 'Cause obviously I was only doing the best I could at the time with like the tools I was given." She continued, "Even though I can look back and feel sad about certain things, I don’t blame my younger self or anything." "17" is such a beautiful song about self-forgiveness, I also love how prominent the jazz influence is on it and how melodic the chorus is. 

"Ryder" is a similar song thematically and also one of the most personal she has ever written, as it is dedicated to her brother. "Just two kids caught in the cross-fire", Madison sings. On TikTok she said, "I think there are so many different relationships that life has to offer you, and the one with your sibling is very important, and I think it can also be very complex." In an interview with Rolling Stone she continued, "There’s been a lot of emotions and experiences that we’ve shared over the last 12 years of me doing this with my life, which has then affected his life in turn. Becoming older and being able to reflect on how my choices impacted him without me even knowing they were going to, because I was also just such a young kid." 

Madison is an artist that absolutely wears her influences on her sleeve so to speak, and it is often very easy to pin-point exactly what vibe she is going for with each of her songs. She has said many times that Lana Del Rey is a major inspiration for the album, the orchestral elements and lyricisms remind me of a watered-down version of Born To Die and Honeymoon with a hint of Norman Fucking Rockwell! There are elements of this album that remind me a lot of Billie Eilish too, as her debut album Life Support did as well. Songs like "Getting Older" and "xanny" are two songs that come to mind right away by Billie that are referenced at various points of this album. She and Madison are both kind of both cut from the same cloth in the way that they have been very open about the influence Lana Del Rey has had on their music over the years, so that crossover of the sad girl aesthetic is somewhat understandable. I also think anyone listening to Madison's music for the first time can immediately hear that Ariana Grande is undoubtedly also a major inspiration for her too. There are countless examples of her influence all over her first two albums, the way she sings, performs and even dresses are very reminiscent of Ariana's signature style. Madison's song "Dangerous" even reminds me of a track that could have been an on Ariana's Yours Truly album. Honestly, I say all of this as the highest compliment to her though, because there are very few that are anywhere near Ariana's level vocally and Madison is one of the few in modern pop music that is able to even remotely pull it off. "Nothing Matters But You" feels like a blend of both the Ariana and Lana influences for her, it is such a gorgeous song. It has the same haunting production of a song like "Video Games" by Lana with the vocal range and stunning whistle notes comparative to Ariana. 

Although parts of this album do drag on a little bit, an aspect of Silence Between Songs that keeps me coming back is how gorgeous her voice is. Toward the latter half of this album, the track list starts to get a bit bloated with the redundant ballads. While none of the songs are necessarily bad, it is as if they are outtakes of her previous album, Life Support, and don't really offer anything new or interesting to this album. Songs like "Stained Glass" and "Selfish" from her debut just feel like better versions of what she is trying to recapture the magic of now with some of the ballads about love and past relationships. She had such a strong start with the first half of the album, so it's interesting that Silence Between Songs takes that turn midway through. She released many singles over the span of the last two years, some more notable than others. I was surprised that songs like "Reckless" and "Showed Me (How I Fell In Love With You)" even made it on the album because they have been out for so long at this point and would have worked better as one-off singles instead. 

My favorite of the singles released in the lead-up to the album is "Home To Another One", which is a very fun pop track with alternative and psychedelic influences. I've had it on repeat for months, it is so addictive to listen to! The chorus interpolates "The Less I Know The Better" by Tame Impala, which is another influence that is very apparent on the second track "Sweet Relief" too. "Sweet Relief" is another major highlight of the album, it's such a cool and fresh sound for her. Alternative music is a really intriguing direction for Madison to be leaning into and I wish she went deeper into those influences on this album overall. Aside from "Home To Another One" and "Sweet Relief", she didn't really dive into that Tame Impala style much more either, which is surprising because it would have been a great creative progression for her. Hopefully she will with future releases.

The title track "Silence Between Songs" is the other note-worthy moment on the second half of the album. I'm surprised it isn't the closing song on the track list, because it would have been such a strong note to end on. Sonically, it reminds me of a jazz rendition of "Toxic" by Britney Spears mixed with "xanny" by Billie Eilish. It's about her struggling to be alone with her thoughts and doing anything she can to drown out the noise. "I can't be alone with my thoughts, when the music's off, no, I can't turn them down, tune them out, don't know how," she sings. The mission of this album overall feels like it is her trying to finally face her deepest thoughts instead of running from them. This song represents that sentiment so well. Like I said earlier, the more introspective and contemplative songs on this album are showcasing Madison at her strongest and most impactful artistically. I love the final lines of this track, "Oh, I never knew that the silence between songs could ever be so lonely and so long," she sings. "So listen close to the silence after this song".

Madison Beer is such a talented and underrated artist in pop music right now. Silence Between Songs is such a meaningful reflection of her past and present self, opening the listener up to a different side of her journey. 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Madison Beer's music*, I would really appreciate if you did so through my affiliate link, which I may earn a commission from. ♡ 

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! 

-Melissa ♡

Photo Credit: Madison Beer, Epic Records, LE3AY*


*affiliate links are featured throughout this post. I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. -- Melissa Kacar is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com


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