There are a rigid list of rules to follow nowadays if you want to become a pop starlet: a long overdue album, drugs bust with semi-famous boyfriend and some kind of collaboration with Dev Hynes. At the end of it all, if you’re successful, you get a spot as support on a Miley Cyrus tour. Fortunately for Sky Ferreira, she’s managed to follow all of this to the letter, ensuring there is enough notoriety surrounding her name to make Azealia Banks jealous. “I blame myself for my reputation,” she sings on ‘I Blame Myself’. It’s easy to see why Ferreira has felt a bit lost in the world of the music industry. Night Time, My Time has been in the pipeline for almost three years now, with Sky Ferreira coming to mainstream attention with her first single, ‘One’, which was a somewhat sickly but undeniably catchy piece of pop, reminiscent of Little Boots. At the time she was tipped to be seen as the new Britney Spears, but it soon became clear that she had other ideas, leading to record label arguments that left her fans hanging in the balance for new music. The problem with the fickle world of pop music is that it becomes very easy to be forgotten, and when albums are this highly anticipated, they are expected to demonstrate something really special.
The opener, ‘Boys’, seems to fulfil all of these expectations. Featuring fast-paced drums, crashing guitars and multi-layered vocals, it gives a fresh take on romance, with Ferreira singing that “you put my faith back in boys”, having spent the first half of the song moaning about them. The guitars are part of what makes Ferreira’s brand of pop so interesting, wholly reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain or bits of The Cure’s back catalogue, but mixed in with pop elements more likely to be found in the Top 40. ‘24 Hours’ starts with an alarm clock, before using xylophones to recreate the Scandi-pop sounds that have become so popular over the past couple of years, whilst ‘Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)’ seems almost destined to be shouted around stadiums. It is easy to see the mark of producer Ariel Rechtshaid (Charlie XCX, Haim, Vampire Weekend) on the more upbeat tracks, which give a polished shine to the darker lyrics that make up a storyline of destruction and insecurity. It would be easy to let the album descend into grunge, but the sheen that somewhat masks Ferreira’s lyrics in turn serves to emphasise their incongruence with the sound even more.
However, sometimes when the sound calms down a bit, it all becomes a bit more accomplished. The title track, ‘Night Time, My Time’, features a muttering and menacing Ferreira accompanied by strings, which become more and more intense as the song grows before cutting out suddenly before the final track. ‘Everything is Embarrassing’ closes the album, and you can see why: it is clearly the most sophisticated piece of writing Ferreira has done. One of those songs that you can never put your finger on why it is so impossible to get out of your head, it was what properly launched her into the public eye in the first place. Whether it is the drum sample that it runs throughout, or Ferreira’s sultry duet with herself, it is easily the best song on the album. And that is somewhat the problem with Night Time, My Time. A lot of it is well produced, exciting and catchy, but it never goes further than where we had seen Sky Ferreira at in the first place. I guess given the amount of furore that went into releasing the album, we can only be grateful that it’s here, and that now the drama is dying down she will be able to focus on bigger and better things.
One thing is for sure: the pouting, half-naked Ferreira who features on the front cover sure looks a lot more vulnerable than she sounds on it, and that bodes well for the future.