Release Date: Oct 29, 2013
Record label: Capitol
Sky Ferreira was going to release her debut album in 2011. Then in 2012, and finally after a mid-2013 release date looked increasingly unlikely, shelled out her own cash to head in the studio with producers Ariel Rechtshaid and Justin Raisen – where, ironically, a record that’s been over four years in the making took a matter of weeks to complete. Even the late 2013 Stateside release of ‘Night Time, My Time’ appeared reluctant.That’s enough to test anyone’s patience – there must’ve been plenty of points where it’d have felt easier to give in, to release a mish-mash of everything until that point.
The cover art for Sky Ferreira's Night Time, My Time is unconventional to say the least. Shot by punk rock auteur of cinema, Gasper Noe, its shower scene is both unsettling and confrontational. Despite the absence of clothing, it's not a sexual image; it's more ominous than inviting. Even in the wake of Miley Cyrus' recent antics, it's a bold move for a debut album cover, but this isn't a run-of-the-mill pop album.
When I first saw Sky Ferreira live I knew it was love, or at least… well, something weird anyway. Not knowing any of the songs, it was her attitude that dragged me along – her edgy, pissed-off and bratty charm that hit somewhere between the Disney Channel and CBGB’s in a fucked up and wonderful pop hell. Over the months that followed I located a few tracks online and wasn’t as impressed, but now the album’s finally arrived, I get to experience her full assault.
Despite rather long periods of sonic mundanity, New York at least can be counted on to engender an intriguing musical “it” girl at predictable intervals. Some—Deborah Harry, Karen O—are fearsome masters of their own glorious destiny. More ephemeral others—Nico, Bijou Phillips—were shrouded in tragedy. Twenty-one-year-old former Angeleno Sky Ferreira (drug allegations notwithstanding) appears to teeter.
About 17 and a half minutes into her debut album, Sky Ferreira prods you to consider how strange it is that you’re listening to it at all. “I just want you to realize I blame myself,” she sings, “for my reputation.” The last word there is the slippery one: It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly Ferreira’s reputation is at this point, or whom she might be shifting blame from. Maybe she has in mind her young parents, who put her upbringing in the hands of her grandmother.
When the general public act as pop gatekeepers, they tend to anoint stars according to how relatable they seem. Something that never works out in the long run since, almost inconceivably, nice middle-aged mums don’t make the world’s most compelling pop stars. Sky Ferreira is the polar opposite of the homely type: her background includes childhood holidays with Michael Jackson, sexual abuse at the hands of a neighbour, getting signed at 17 but kept on the shelf while her label decided how to position her, and being arrested last summer for allegedly pulling a Thelma & Louise with her boyfriend, Diiv’s Zachary Cole Smith.
Some long-gestating albums bear no trace of their difficult birth; not this one. Sky Ferreira's debut, originally slated for 2011 but beset by label disputes and creative U-turns, sounds like a reasonably conventional pop record that's been dragged backwards through a forest after nightfall. Songs such as Boys emerge dishevelled, blanketed in fuzz and crackling with a wild-eyed energy that sets them apart from most of the charts.
Sky Ferreira has finally delivered the goods. The 21-year-old's debut album has been years in the making, and sounds like a cross between a confessional and a declaration of independence. After enduring power struggles with label Capitol Records over her musical direction and image, Ferreira teamed up with producers Ariel Rechtshaid and Justin Raisen to give the album's a gritty, Suicide-esque edge.
LA’s pop-noir darling Sky Ferreira, seemingly a remnant of the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll era in the ’80s, isn’t afraid to rub people the wrong way in her quest to be the most audacious, glamorous and fascinating rockstar since Kanye went, well Kanye. That’s what she is essentially – a rockstar. She may not peddle the axe-chugging, low-slung bass, and cock-swagger flamboyance of Bon Jovi or Van Halen or AC/DC, but she’s definitely an enigma.
Early adulthood is often a time of musical awakening, of voracious record collecting and research into musical influences of influences of influences. Listening to the debut album from 21-year-old singer/songwriter Sky Ferreira is like thumbing through her record collection: the Jesus and Mary Chain, Suicide, Fiona Apple, the Pretty In Pink soundtrack, Robyn. What's remarkable is how well she and producer Ariel Rechtshaid have distilled these influences into her own sound, balancing distortion-drenched rock and shoegazey detachment with sparkling radio-tuned vocals.
After a slew of EPs and delayed release dates, Sky Ferreira's debut album Night Time, My Time finally arrived in October 2013 and confirmed her status as pop music's dark horse. And while its most outrageous touches -- the equally alluring and disturbing nude album cover shot by controversial film director Gaspard Noe, the Suicide-goes-Top 40 track "Omanko," named after the Japanese slang for a woman's genitals -- would make Miley Cyrus blush (or more likely, scratch her head), the most shocking thing about the album is how consistently good it is. Ferreira manages to balance her teen pop past with her current interest in indie rock in surprising, creative, and always catchy ways on songs like the new wave-tinged "Love in Stereo," while "I Will" and "You're Not the One" both mix hard-hitting beats and big guitars in ways that sound perfectly natural.
"@skyferreira is the fuckinnnn TRUTH" - Miley Ray Cyrus, Feb 23, 2014 While the idea of Miley Cyrus 2014 Edition dealing in absolute truth is amusing, such a ringing endorsement for her most recent touring partner makes sense. Sky Ferreira, though not a former child star, has been intellectual property of the music industry since she was 15. Now 21, her long-awaited debut is finally here, emerging after years of resisting label moulding and flirting with different styles.
Sky Ferreira’s been in the big leagues from a young age. “I’ve literally been doing this half my life, since I was a preteen,” she recently told Pitchfork. She’s taken a lot of knocks over that period, and now at 21, she’s released her first full-length album, Night Time, My Time. It’s divided between driving, stadium-sized rock and diffuse, murkier tracks, a series of starts and stops, explosions of feeling followed by temporary calm.
Provocation in popular music is nothing new, but Miley Cyrus's recent VMA performance has spurred copious conversations about whether the extroversion of today's pop starlets has finally devolved into empty exhibitionism. The specter of that performance and America's obsession with young female sexuality has hung over discussions of every high-profile, heavyweight pop album that's come out since, including the singer's own Bangerz, Katy Perry's Prism, and pop's own “come to Jesus” moment, Lorde's Pure Heroine. It will likewise hang over Sky Ferreira's debut, Night Time, My Time, which is forced to contend not only with the model-actress-singer's baggage (career false starts, long-term label drama, drug charges), but also its own cover art, which displays the 21-year-old in a Gaspar Noé-shot shower scene that puts both her bare breasts and heroin chic on full display.
She just turned 21, but Sky Ferreira has been through the ringer enough times for someone twice her age. At this point, her origin story has reached almost Bon Iver levels of ubiquity: teenage perpetual next-big-thing plagued by endless album delays and bitter label quarrels, finally releasing her proper debut, paradoxically still through a major label. The 12 tracks on Night Time, My Time play with that paradox, juxtaposing hyper-catchy synthpop with a middle-finger-to-the-man defiance most bluntly exhibited by the NSFW cover art.
The full-length debut from model-actress-singer Sky Ferreira sounds like a soundtrack for the Breakfast Club remake playing in her head. Ferreira airlifts her electropop hooks straight from the Eighties, her yelping, surly vocals frosted with thick production and her constant synths reflecting every Tears for Fears anthem ever blasted during a coastal joyride. Some of the modern EDM heaviness of Icona Pop and Sleigh Bells kicks in latently, but the 21-year-old's iciness ultimately fails to charm.
Nature abhors a vacuum and the three-year gulf that stretches back from the drop of Night Time, My Time to the first intended release date for a Sky Ferreira LP has been unreasonably filled with a narrative of expectation, disappointment, resignation, and cynicism. Such an environment can't fail to factor heavily on both artist and record. Harsh public reaction to the 21-year-old singer's recent troubles hasn't helped things either.
How much longer will Sky Ferreira not get what she wants? The agony of disappointment is wearing on her, and animating her. See “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)” — which turns lashing out into a sticky, moody song — from her bracing, aggressive and surprisingly tender debut album, “Night Time, My Time” (Capitol). For much of the song, her singing telegraphs as eye-rolling, exasperated boredom, even when the words are sour: “You say you don’t wanna hear me complain/Just trying to get my point across/You don’t seem to care if I’m feeling lost.” It rests somewhere near the intersection of Marilyn Manson’s motorized angst and Best Coast’s mournful tunefulness, which is to say Courtney Love.
At this point Sky Ferreira has walked a runway, been on the cover of a few magazines, put out a full-length pop album on a major record label and, at least, has become something of a “college dorm” name. She has also stuck it to the man, made a career for herself on her own terms and maintains a mildly entertaining Instagram. In other words, Ferreira has mostly achieved what many millennial girls dreamed of by the time they entered kindergarten.Sky Ferreira’s long-delayed but greatly anticipated full-length, Night Time, My Time, is here and it sounds, largely, nothing like the meek bedroom shut-in jams of her 2012 Ghost EP, with its laundry list of producers.
In an interview with Stereogum this month, Sky Ferreira was candid about her long-awaited debut LP, Night Time, My Time: “I literally wrote this album once everyone left me the fuck alone and stopped trying to to tell me what to do. I went in the studio, wrote and recorded all of the songs with Justin [Raisen] and Ariel [Rechtshaid], and literally cut like seven or eight songs in two weeks. We mixed it and mastered it and never looked back.” For Sky stans, the fact that the final version of Night Time, My Time was born of such a short burst of creative energy will likely feel bittersweet.
My opinion of Sky Ferreira's long awaited debut album has gone from pre-disposed hatred to ambivalence; from wanting to pick it apart to being unable to remove its hooks from my brain; from balking at its oddly passive bio-rhythms to recognising it as darkly clever. From thinking of her existence as fatally mired in the contradictions of 21st century celebrity to applauding her defiance against the system that contains her. It's hard out there for a bitch, and that's probably never more evident than when attempting to talk about young, female, broadly popular artists who don't fall neatly into categories that we're comfortable with.
opinion bySAMUEL TOLZMANN Everything and nothing is surprising about Sky Ferreira’s career. Courted by a major label via MySpace in her teens, demos left to languish on execs’ hard drives: it’s a story we’ve all heard before. Ferreira fought valiantly to get her music heard despite the Man’s disapproval, but this development, too, is just another tired one in a stale narrative.