Single of the week: Sophie Morgan – Always review

By Adam Goldsmith

Like a mirage, Sophie Morgan’s latest release, Always, is an at once shimmering and crushing narrative – using dreams as a means of escape from an isolated existence.

‘A waltz for the lonely,’ it’s a track which flips the conventions of a love song on their head, wearing romantic thoughts as a façade for restless loneliness. The sigh of a trumpet and pondering keys set the tone immediately; the listener lured into a comfortable recline as Morgan’s velvety vocals wash over. But linger on the lyrics, and a longing for company begins to reveal itself. ‘Leave the TV on,’  Morgan implores; ‘it’s so quiet when you’re gone.’

Indeed, there’s more than a notion of La La Land to the accompanying music video. The picture-perfect moonlit location slowly reveals itself to be a flickering illusion, Morgan’s dreams fading as a handsome man pirouettes his way out of sight. Yet, such is the power of escapism that Morgan permits herself to linger in the fantasy. She might be ‘raising my glass to a table of ghosts’, but existing within this hallucination is better than the alternative offered by a depressing reality.

The Northerner lists Glen Hansard as one of her influences, and you can certainly find traces of Once in the slow build and eventual orchestral swell of Morgan’s most recent release. Joined by esteemed guests Simon Jones (The Verve), Matt Ingram (Laura Marling), and London’s Archie Faulks, the songwriter isn’t short of friends in constructing this symphony of longing.

For a track whose narrator pines to be noticed, its author hasn’t exactly been invisible either. An early break came when The Waterboys noticed the then 18-year-old’s delicate cover of The Whole of the Moon, and inviting her on tour. Since then – and before the pandemic encircled us – Morgan has toured with indie-pop sweethearts Seafret, as well as releasing well-received EP, Marmalade.

Still, in the track’s final moments, Morgan’s charming man and orchestral companions depart – leaving her alone. What once began as a dreamy declaration of love, the refrain of ‘I swear that I heard you say: always,’  transpires to be a lament of false self-reassurance.

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