ADR’s new single is a scathing rebuke of her trade, and also a palpable detour from her typically tranquil chill-wave stylings.
The central point of departure between Alessandra de Rossi’s music and acting is demonstrativeness. Put simply: Her films feed on it, and her songs stray from it.
That’s not terribly surprising when one considers that demonstrativeness is at the heart of the emphatic (famously villainous, lately manic-pixie) characters she plays. The tunes, though, are a different matter; they’re decidedly wallflower-like, textural, vacillating, reticent.
The ADR catalog is replete with these qualities, all signposts of some under-the-radar form of self-soothing. When Alex sings, it’s meditative and prayerlike, but not prayerlike in a wishful-thinking sort of way; it’s prayerlike in a talking-t0-yourself-in-the-key-of-hymns kind of way.
You sense this in her production language and sparse instrumentation, too. But in her new single “In Your Own Skin”—a confessional of sorts, if we’re to pursue religious themes—the mold is broken momentarily.
“[All my songs] are not ‘everyday jams.’ But this one stands out for me because I was so angry during recording,” ADR shares, stressing that while such a mood is “rare,” she feels it is “necessary.”
Built on a singular chord progression that starts from whimper and escalates to vitriol, what stands out in “In Your Skin” is the voice: unpolished, unpoliced, unfettered. While not armed with the strongest pipes this side of Manila, De Rossi has got earnestness in abundance.
Her discomfort is palpable, but so is her ire.
Purportedly a scathing rebuke of (the dark side of) showbusiness, De Rossi is unequivocal in her estimation, but lyrical (in truth, almost charitable) in her framing, explaining how “you go through so much shedding and repairing and reconstructing” in her trade, all in the name or “fame, power, glory, or just a little bit of credit.”
“Is any of it worth it? I don’t know. How many pacts to ourselves do we have to break?” she asks in a pre-release Q&A, her uncertainty still bubbling, negotiating between art and artifice, sincerity and cunning, and several other unnamable paradoxes in the process.
The moody arpeggios in adagio, dubbed with only the slightest hints of texture and echo, make this new ADR track just the right amount of bare: the equivalent of a quaint room, a quiet sit-down, a quake waiting to break.
“I call it a power to remain true to oneself, and be comfortable in your own skin, no matter the consequences,” De Rossi stresses.