Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana
Faye and I were born in the same year, we have grown up with the same musical influences, we are both convinced that the pedal steel is an amazing instrument, and I connect with everything she has the say about being sad, being happy, and just being. Releasing her debut album Run and Tell, when she was only sixteen back in October 2013, Atlanta’s Faye Webster is no newcomer to the music industry. Yet, she would have to wait for 2019’s Atlanta Millionaires Club until she achieved any notable version of commercial success, featuring songs such as the tropical vibe of the tear-eyed “Room Temperature” and the daydreaming “Kingstone”, which earned her several spots on year-end lists.
Returning in 2021 with a brand new fourth album containing eleven tracks, we are being introduced to an artist who has found her sound and style as well as a relatively small but dedicated audience ready to indulge themselves in her delicately composed meditations about everything from being accepted by her boyfriend’s family members to crushing on Atlanta Braves’ baseball outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.
“I sit around until I find something better to spend my time but nothing’s appealing,” Webster sings dryly on the opening track “Better Distractions”, suggesting that her tears haven’t dried since last time around. Nothing about I Know I’m Funny haha is especially revolutionary, but it’s clear that Faye and her team have put a lot of effort into refining and improving the best bits of Atlanta Millionaires Club. Her dark humor has become punchier, Matt “Pistol” Stossel’s pedal steel playing is even more precise than earlier, and even if there are technically way more impressive singers than Faye, she’s making every single word on this album count, completely owning every intelligent wordplay or observation, making even the slightest reflection feeling intimate and almost candid, even if it’s just about not getting her deposit back from the landlord.
On I Know I’m Funny haha, every song gets room to breathe. The acoustic jamming halfway into the adorable “In a Good Way”, the rattling brass on “A Dream with a Baseball Player” and Stoessels’ ever-apparent pedal steel embedding the album in a timeless alt-country vibe which sets it apart from similar indie-girls such as Lucy Darcus, Julien Baker, and Clairo. This is further away from pop music – it’s the kind of album that rewards repeated listening with new insights and a constantly revolving lineup of favorite tracks.
Faye’s music will never be the kind of crossover success that Clairo’s Immunity or Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher were, and even within the indie community, it will remain an underrated gem due to its high demand for attention to detail. However, anyone willing to spend some 40 minutes of your precious time off and whole-heartedly embrace these eleven jewels will discover that the hardest-rocking song here, “Cheers”, is also the most tender love song. Then they will discover that “A Stranger” and “Sometimes” are stunning, even though you initially thought they were boring. Then, in the end, you will maybe even start thinking that Faye is your very own version of her Ronald Acuña Jr.