Music Critic Emily Wallace explains how the new project from Maisie Peters will appeal to both fans of TV show, Trying, and acoustic pop music alike

Written by Emily Wallace
Film Editor and Second Year English student
Published
Images by Rich viola

Maisie Peters’ new album marks a departure from her previous singles and EPs in a number of different ways. The main difference is that all of these songs were written as original songs for the soundtrack to Season 2 of Apple TV+’s Trying, a comedy starring Esther Smith and Rafe Spall as a couple going through the process of adoption. The songs on this soundtrack therefore stray from Peters’ usual style of writing from her own experiences and are instead shaped around events and themes within the show. The result is a beautiful and cohesive selection of songs that stand strong in their own right as an album, as well as forming part of the show.

The result is a beautiful and cohesive selection of songs that stand strong in their own right as an album, as well as forming part of the show

The prominence of love songs throughout the soundtrack is another of the differences from Peters’ previous work, which has often centred around break-up songs. The opening track, ‘Neck of the Woods,’ is an upbeat, hopeful song which sets out the tone for many of the tracks, which is continued into the next song, ‘Milhouse,’ which explores ideas of second chances and things finally working out. The line ‘the world is awful and the ice caps they are melting / But today you bought me flowers / So I’m choosing to believe’ encapsulates these feelings, showing how love can make bad times feel okay and inspire hope. 

The theme of love songs continues in the next two tracks: ‘Funeral,’ featuring James Bay, was the first released single from the album, and is a moving duet about loving someone even if you are scared. ‘Helicopter,’ a personal favourite from the soundtrack, is a softer, acoustic song about being overprotective towards your loved ones. Despite writing based on the episodes, Peters has said ‘There’s a lot of myself in this one, for sure. It was how I was feeling at the time, and I love the honesty in it’. The vulnerability and openness within ‘Helicopter,’ along with the stripped-back instrumentals, comes together to make it a poignant track. 

Further collaborations with other artists can be seen in the soundtrack, as Maisie Peters features Griff on ‘Happy Hunting Ground,’ and Bear’s Den on ‘I Want You To Change (Because You Want to Change).’ The harmonies on ‘Happy Hunting Ground’ blend beautifully together, and each of the featured artists on this album bring something new to the tracks that allow for variety within these thematically similar songs.

Each of the featured artists on this album bring something new to the tracks that allow for variety within these thematically similar songs

‘Glowing Review’ is another standout track from the album. Another one of the more upbeat songs on the soundtrack, it both instrumentally and lyrically brings back ideas from the previous tracks to great effect. The final track, ‘Lunar Years,’ marks a change from the other songs on the album, as it deals with two people moving on from a break-up in a light-hearted manner. This difference from many of the other tracks rounds the album off nicely, while still managing to keep the hopefulness evident throughout the soundtrack. 

Overall, the soundtrack comes together to form a collection of, on the whole, cheerful and optimistic songs. It is worth listening to as an album in its own right, particularly for fans of acoustic pop music. It was refreshing to see a slight change with Maisie Peters’ music as she explored a new kind of project, and this soundtrack has heightened my excitement for her future releases. 

Rating: 8/10

Trying: Season 2 (Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack) is available now via Warner Music


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