Sophia Messa Confronts Isolation on "moneydontfixlonely"

The new singer-songwriter's first release manages to be a dark, theatrical power-pop experience and a thoughtfully-crafted debut at the same time.

Khufu Najee

Generally speaking, most pop artists' debut singles aren't terribly risky, in content or in sound.

Sophia Messa isn't most artists. She just released her first single, "moneydontfixlonely," kick-starting her career with a definitive sonic statement that pulls unabashedly from the annals of power-pop in order to introduce a new artist to the industry.

The track itself is as theatrical as a pop single can get, with a ringing organ-like intro leading into a sawing acoustic guitar, darkly echoing synths, and an exploding drum line surging under Messa's powerful contralto. For a new artist, Messa is bracingly assured as both a singer and a narrator, and her confidence carries the song forward with aplomb. She reflects on her imposter syndrome, her heavy feelings of isolation in an image-obsessed world, and coping with her pain with drinking and running headlong into ill-fated relationships. "I just wanted you to want to hold me," Messa pleads to a disembodied lover, just before this line: "Been looking for someone to entertain me / But I'm the only one that's gonna save me." Messa muddies the water on "moneydontfixlonely," jumping back and forth from alienation to determination, but still manages to lend a grounding element to the song's sense of melodrama.

It's perhaps too early to say whether the 19-year-old singer-songwriter is a surefire star in the making, or to try and predict what's to follow "moneydontfixlonely." But Messa's adept use of the tools of modern pop, and her self-aware invocation of the "silver spoon on my tongue," might just be the kind of distinction she needs to make her mark as a serious budding artist.


Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.

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