Faye Webster explores the growing pains of love and loneliness in “I know I’m funny haha”

Faye webster I know I’m funny haha looks like a summer rain storm. In the dark heat and haze of her words, the 23-year-old freelance artist opens up a flood of emotions with each tear-stained ballad. I know I’m funny haha is uniquely beautiful due to Webster’s honesty coupled with his great ability to counter the melancholy blues of sadness with country and R&B touches infused with amber.

On his latest album, the 2019 record Atlanta Millionaires Club, Webster beefed up his talent for storytelling and writing the platonic ideal of a sad song. I know I’m funny haha continues to explore those same pains of longing and isolation, but in the meantime, Webster has gone through the throes of a relationship amid social isolation and his own growing independent stardom. She encounters mundane daily pains of loneliness and unexpected streams of tears of joy with awesome composure.

“Better Distractions,” the opening track and first single from the project, landed on former President Barack Obama’s “Favorite Music of 2020 List” and in many ways sums up the loneliness of the past year and a half in quarantine. Webster describes an unsuccessful search for a distraction from his troubled love life with unavailable friends, singing, “I have two friends I could see, but they have two jobs and a baby / I just wanna see you.” Whether intentionally or not, Webster’s desire and search for “better distractions” from this absent love interest reflects the sense of disconnection many felt from loved ones during the pandemic.

“Kind Of” is a mind-boggling groove of smooth drums and keyboard, and a story of new blossoming relationships. Webster reflects on the pessimism of his past and steps out of his comfort zone by humming, “I’ve always been the type to see all the bad before all the good things / I didn’t write the song in a minute / I didn’t haven’t been in love forever / But I’m looking at you, you’re looking at me from all possible angles.

The album’s main track details the intimidating experience of meeting a partner’s family, recalling, “I think your sisters are so pretty / I got drunk and they forgot they had met me. / I made her laugh once at dinner / She said I’m funny and then I thanked her / But I know I’m funny haha. She punctuates these moments, both loaded and enriching, with a sardonic “haha”, as if to soften the awkwardness of her memory.

This isn’t the only time Webster’s dry humor crosses the emotional veneer of the project. On the track “A Dream With a Baseball Player,” she recounts her crush on Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr, and sings, “There’s so much going on / My grandmother is dead / And I can’t sleep because it’s not my bed / He doesn’t even know these things exist. His baseball crush is the definition of unrequited love, but serves more as a fun anecdote to look back on rather than a heart-wrenching, prolonged desire. Webster finally met Acuña in a game and said: “It was so disappointing. Not in a bad way, it was just like, ‘OK, he doesn’t care about me.’ I spent two years obsessing over this person who won’t remember meeting me after tonight. It’s the kind of fleeting infatuation that none of us are immune to.

Webster’s Atlanta roots are at the heart of his music, whether it’s the home team’s favorites or the mellow country instrumentals that characterize his unique sound. Steel guitar twangs, soft washboard layers, and electric organ hums flow with moving basslines in perfect harmony. Webster paints neighborhood porch gossip images on Southern-style “I know I’m funny haha”, with a sort of unhurried sounding sort of voice. In a recent interview, Webster revealed that she only records vocals on Garageband and rarely in a studio, which may further explain the intrinsic feel of her music.

The details of Webster’s low-key misadventures and romance victories aren’t always universal, but the project always remains as intimate and unbridled as a conscience diary entry or a frank conversation with a friend. I know I’m funny haha is the quintessential album for lazy summer lulls and the multi-seasonal growing pains of love and personal growth.

Daily Arts writer Nora Lewis can be contacted at [email protected].

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