“I’m at the edge of the world that I knew,” Maude Latour sings to open her newest EP, “001.” The singer-songwriter graduated from Columbia University as a philosophy major in Spring 2022; graduation seems to be the “edge of the world” she sings about in the title track, as she’s on the verge of finishing school and stepping out into the ‘real world,’ with one aspect being the start of a full-time musical career.
I first found Latour when she teased “Walk Backwards,” a single from her second EP, on TikTok in late 2020. She had advertised herself sounding quite similar to Lorde – typically a dream-, electro-, or indie-pop artist – especially with Latour’s lower voice register. I almost mistook her song as one of Lorde’s, particularly with the prominent bassline behind the voice.
Latour released “001” on Sept. 30, but she had released the singles “Headphones,” “Lola,” “Trees,” “Probabilities,” and “Cyclone” in February, April, May, July, and early September respectively. With each release, it seemed like she stepped further into the electronic dance club genre from her prior dreamy electro- bedroom-pop productions. While her songs still have a dreamy aura, it feels overpowered by the electronic tones and dance beats.
“Even though ‘001’ sounds so different, it is so my voice, my personality, and my message,” Latour says in an interview with V Magazine. I’m unsure whether she’s speaking about the track or album, but I think the statement can go in both directions. The song “001” is unlike any other track on the album or in her discography so far. It opens the EP with an edgy feel, with some parts of the song slightly clashing in dissonance.
She adds bold creative statements to the track, like complete pauses in the music before the chorus plays. The song also ends with the electronic dance beats fading out rather than having a definitive end. While this track is not my favorite of the album, and I’m not as avid of an electronic dance music listener, I appreciate that Latour is expanding to a sound that she hasn’t meddled with previously.
“Headphones” is the second song on the album, and I have listened to this since the day it came out. It’s about not having the best day but being able to drown out the destructive voices by music playing in headphones. Ironically, I remember stepping out of an unpleasant meeting the day of its release and deciding to listen to the new song Latour just came out with – it was perfect for the occasion. Sonically, I’ve really enjoyed this song since my first listen; it’s slower-paced and lets you sink into the feeling of accepting having a bad day.
The third track is “Lola,” the name of a close friend of Latour’s. The chorus starts the song with, “You were on my mind all night / I hope you know that / (Lola),” which makes it seem like a romantic love song. However, as the verses progress, there are more general statements that point to themes of self-love, caring for the planet, and finding meaning in life through the people around Latour; I find it very interesting yet perplexing to understand exactly what the message in this one is.
The lyrics of “Lola” remind me of the theme of friendship in the aforementioned “Walk Backwards.” The early 2021 release talks about how Latour doesn’t fully understand the blurry line between platonic and romantic love. Addressing her best friend, the lines “’Cause when I look at you I / Fall right into a dream” in “Walk Backwards” go along with “Yeah, I really think I love you, Lola” in “Lola.”
“Trees” is the next song on the album, and she sings about how much of an impact a particular person had on her life. Again, the music is slower-paced and features some relatively alternative chords and tones in the instrumentals. “Probabilities,” the fifth track, is about trusting yourself during the process of going through life. For instance, Latour sings, “Baby, don’t be scared / I can tell the future’s bright”; she also mentions how she’s able to look back on parts of the past with the perspectives she has now.
The penultimate song, “Living It,” has an absolutely wonderful 6/8 time signature and melody; for those who are not as familiar with technical music terms, it feels more like a waltz. I tend to gravitate towards tracks with this pattern, regardless of what the theme may be. In this case, Latour sings about possibly giving a former lover a second chance, but ultimately deciding, “Pinching my skin to remember I’m living it [life] (Seems I don’t need you anymore).” One of my favorite set of lines is, “So insignificant / For me it was infinite,” highlighting the contrast between the ex-lover’s view and Latour’s. As someone who can feel too much at times, I think it accentuates the point at which it’s time to let go of someone or something.
“Cyclone” makes a clearer transition to the dance pop beats that I mentioned earlier. It’s a driving track that seems to speak about a relationship ending and its resulting heartbreak. Latour sings, “Tell you life is so long / Even if I’m dead wrong / Love you ’til I’m all gone,” stating that she’s going to continue loving them no matter the circumstances.
Much of her music in this EP as well as earlier ones has revolved around college feelings and relationships. This album focuses more on the phases of acceptance and transitioning to a new era after experiencing all that she has, which reflects her graduation last spring.
I think Latour has done spectacularly on this EP, the third in a span of three years, especially considering she had been preoccupied with school in its earlier stages. “001” gets 4.5 out of five crabs from me.