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Sasha Sloan paints a perfectly imperfect “Self Portrait”

5 out of 5 stars

Few people do vulnerability quite like Sasha Sloan. The 24-year-old Boston-born singer released her third EP, “Self Portrait,” and as far as Sloan goes, it’s par for the course. And by this, I mean it’s raw, shameless, honest and relatable in ways that few artists can accomplish. 

Sloan’s first two EP’s, “Sad Girl” and “Loser,” both released in 2018, introduced her to the music industry as a young and talented songwriter and artist. Her music has bedroom pop elements; her voice is soft and airy, and the music production follows suit, with gentle beats that create a simple background, allowing her lyrics to shine.

“Self Portrait” addresses Sloan’s acceptance with who she is from her faults to the image she portrays to the world and to her confessions of wrongdoing. With the opening song, “Thoughts,” Sloan begins by giving us a look into the constant battle inside her head. The song consists of lines that are relatable to many, like the chorus’s “I’m scared they’re all laughing / so I make the joke first / if I beat them to the punchline / then I can’t get hurt.” Per usual for Sloan, her lyrics say much of what many of us don’t want to admit, and “Thoughts” sets the theme for the EP, a collection of admissions and a first step at acceptance by acknowledging them all.

“Thoughts” begins by giving us a first look at Sloan’s vision of herself and the rest of the EP follows with uniquely revealing songs about Sloan’s life, her emotions and her anxieties. Yet “Self Portrait” also offers variety; the songs, though sticking with the theme, aren’t repetitive. “Keep On,” the EP’s third song, has the encouraging message to continue on “even on the bad days,” as Sloan sings. “Dancing With Your Ghost” is the only song specifically about love and heartbreak, the lyrics painting an image of grace in the face of loss as Sloan’s soft voice and gentle music intertwine throughout the chorus to create a melancholy anthem.

A standout of the collection comes in the second half of the seven-song EP with “at least I look cool,” a unique tune that tells the story of Sloan going out for the night and basically faking it until she makes it. With her descriptions of how she doesn’t fit into the wealthy party scene, lines like “I drive a car that doesn’t work / I shop at Target for my shirts / and when I pay my rent it hurts,” create two verses and a bridge that, with blatant honesty, explain exactly how Sloan is an outcast in this scene. Yet somehow, with the chilled-out vibes of the song, the bassline and Sloan’s crooning, “honestly I’m kind of bored / but at least I look cool,” she highlights her position as an outlier to be just that: incredibly cool.

All of “Self Portrait” is yet another confessional and raw piece of pure art from Sasha Sloan. She pulls us in and shares her secrets and flaws with a collection of chill songs perfect for background music while studying or a rainy-day soundtrack for the car. Where some artists thrive off of creating a flawless image of themselves, Sloan’s “Self Portrait” is perfection in its honesty and self-acceptance.


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