The One You Need was produced by Pittsburgh’s Troxum, and is an invigorating listen from track to track. moon baby, who now resides in Philadelphia, heralded the album back in Feb. 2021 with a preview of the single "Yours Truly." Back then, moon baby — the persona of Sam Perry — promised a work "dedicated to the raves, parties, and general nightlife that she says inspired so much of her work."
The One You Need as an album very much matches the energy of the album cover (see above image), which is to say, it is full of gorgeous synth-pop anthems. The single for the album, "Super Natural", is one of my favorite tracks. It’s dazzling, dirty, and fun. Lyrics like “I can see the mistakes every time he goes down on me in the back seat of his Subaru” tell the story of an ill-advised love affair that makes you feel good, but maybe isn’t the best for you. This idea is hammered home by the musings about blue eyes and “what kind of lies did they tell you.”
Another stand-out from the album is "‘95 Corolla," a track that, while similar in subject to "Super Natural," is a sonically different experience. Whereas "Super Natural" is pitched up and fun, "‘95 Corolla" has a beat that feels like trudging through sand, with a grainy synth to balance it all out. moon baby's vocal performance on this track is pitched lower and moves slower, giving it an almost haunted feel. While it’s a different listening experience, you can see how one track travels to the next, how you end up at "‘95 Corolla" from its pop-heavy doppelganger.
One word that strikes me when listening to this album is “abundance.” There’s a lot going on within each song, all of which are heavy with sound but not so much that it overwhelms you.
One exception is “Pretty Knife.” This track has a beat that sounds like a video game, and the beginning gives off Prince vibes. It's funky and high-energy. As the song goes on, more complexity is added at around the minute mark. It sounds like a ghost choir has come in and added a backing track. That backing track fades in and out as the track continues, adding a dark flare to it.
The penultimate track on the album, “Everyday I Just Get More Free,” is a little simpler in its composition. It’s a song about reclaiming your space and being your truest self, starting out with the lyrics “I got this feeling that we’re all bout to change,” and carrying that energy throughout. For the chorus, moon baby sings “ima make you pray, get on your knees boy,” and there’s such power in that positioning. This song for me is the thesis of the album, the true anthem.
The album is tied together with this sort of twinkling synth, and sharp and visceral lyrics. It’s a great album from start to finish, and listening through multiple times is an advantage — you can begin to imagine how it would sound performed live. The moon baby has a grand, almost operatic voice that would truly be an experience to hear in the same room.
See the first live performance of The One You Need on Fri, Sept. 3 at Spirit. The event will also include DJ sets by Formosa and Hibiskiss. The album release party is sure to be a good time that you won’t want to miss, but if you can’t make it, make sure to stream the album when it comes out. The digital version of the album is now available to pre-order on Bandcamp.
The One You Need album release party. 9:30 p.m. Spirit. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $10 advance, $15 at the door. 21 and over. spiritpgh.com