Lala Lala: I Want the Door to Open (Hardly Art) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, December 7th, 2023  

Lala Lala

I Want the Door to Open

Hardly Art

Oct 07, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Lillie West’s third album as Lala Lala is a reflection of the self, and all the distortions that make us who we are. I Want The Door To Open is at once introspective and existential, atmospheric and surreal—a distant destination from the guitar-driven focus of 2018’s acclaimed The Lamb.

The tracks combine electronic musings and moody elegance to paint a picture of West at the center of a journey of self-discovery. Kate Bush is here, yes, but also contemporaries like Snail Mail and Caroline Rose.

The album’s focal point is the track “DIVER,” a synthy mirror to West’s reality. Here, the theme of the distorted self collides with the Sisyphian search for something bigger. “I can’t look directly at it, your face distorted in the window,” sings West, “swimming out towards my new life, dragged back by the undertow.” Then West outright calls herself Sisyphus, the Greek king who, for cheating death twice, was forced to roll a boulder up a hill—only for it to keep tumbling down.

It’s in this thread that one can find the album’s heartbeat. Our individual searches for truth, it seems West is suggesting, are futile. And if anything, that search for an unattainable or definitive “truth” is what makes life worth it.

West has described that feeling, and how it flowed into the album’s ethos and production: “I want total freedom, total possibility, total acceptance. I want to fall in love with the rock.”

And in this liberating abandonment of defining the self, West finds beauty.

“I remember my name, it’s always the same, another Lillie,” she sings on the psychedelic-tinted “Bliss Now!” The tracks “Prove It” and “Castle Life” circle around this search, while later in the album West has clearly found herself and is using that search to inform the other aspects of her life.

Cameos from the poet Kara Jackson (“Straight & Narrow”) and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard (“Plates”) help round out an album that, on the surface, is a pleasant and hypnotic indie pop collection—but examined just a little bit more deeply is a concerted effort by a talented and thoughtful artist who is trying to find the deeper meaning to what their art (and life) is all about. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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