When I first heard the name Cold Beaches automatically I was dropped onto the beach in December. My hair disheveled from the wind, the goosebumps rising on my arms, the crashing of the sea and the chill up my spine. This striking imagery extends beyond the name and is a quality Sophia Nadia has managed to incorporate in all of her music. Hailing from Richmond Virginia and releasing music under the name Cold Beach’s Nadia’s approach to creating music is one entirely personal. Not only did she write both of her albums but also is responsible for the brunt of the recording on them as well. This includes her latest release Rooftop Honey.
Rooftop Honey is the follow-up album to her 2016 release Aching. The chilling debut introduced her sad girl synth rock and touched on themes like mental illness, love, and sadness. Tracks like ‘Crushed’ showcased her independence while ‘Wandering’ discussed her lack of direction in life. It was the title track however that really personified all of the longing and loneliness. Tinged with the blues and rightfully so this track is bittersweet and persistent, “I am here/I’m okay/ I was there/I was shaking/ I cannot leave/ For you I won’t/The reason my heart is aching.” Mirroring the lamentations on her demo tapes released prior it was easy to see why everyone was so enamored by her dulcet vocals and pure vulnerability.
These captivating qualities resurfaced again in April on Rooftop Honey. There’s a lot that can be said about the 9 track LP but most important is to acknowledge the sheer genius behind it. Starting with ‘Boring,’ she discusses the dating scene and the ennui of the same self-centered men trying to impose themselves into girls lives. This extends to her dissatisfaction with the power dynamics in the dating game and her refusal to be just another object for them to exert power over.
“Don’t Ask Why” also has that independent spirit behind it as Nadia makes it evident that her choices require no explanation and she can do whatever she pleases. Even as her heart is breaking and she can’t exactly explain her decisions she summons the strength to leave and asks “how’s it feel without a shoulder to cry on?”
‘Oops’ is also an homage to her strength as she talks about moving on from past relationships and not focusing on the girl she used to be. Nadia radiates confidence as she reconciles with the fact that she’d comprised herself in the past but vows never to dwarf herself again. She takes a look at her past without the rose tint of nostalgia and draws from it strength instead of sadness. Croning “I come from a house that is stronger than most/ And in my mind, past lovers ain’t even ghosts,” it is encouraging to see her draw from her inner strength and not letting her past haunt her.
The rest of the album taps into Nadia’s more emotional side. ‘Ten Thirty One’ is gorgeous and ethereal as she is reeling in the confusion of what to do about the person she misses. The ambivalence shines through as she wants them to stay away to avoid all of the feelings she has for them but at the same time even at a party, her thoughts are preoccupied with them dancing in the kitchen. It’s a beautiful moment of vulnerability taken from the tumultuous thoughts left in the wake of someone’s absence.
My personal favorite song from the album is ‘I Need Some.’ Beautiful beyond words the song discusses her inability to stay away from someone she loves and her need for self-control. The song shimmers under a celestial guitar riff that fizzles into her ending vocals ‘in the morning you’re an angel/I need some self-control.’ Spiraling into a sea of glimmering fuzz rock brilliance the song ends as she battles to gain that self-control whilst still being held prisoner to the daydream like state she views the boy in.
‘Brake Lights’ however ends the album in a state of contempt. Despite the above 8 tracks ranging everywhere from sadness to happiness to longing and desire she reaches a point and finds that person to which everything else just seems like background noise. She doesn’t want to miss a second of their time and she is so content to just spend time with them. It’s the happy ending that is so well deserved and one we all strive for. ‘Brake Lights’ reaffirms that despite whatever happens in the past and whatever you thought you couldn’t recover from you have a future and in that lies happiness.
Rooftop Honey is real life. It deals with the loves and losses the infinite highs and the crushing lows. It’s authentic, raw, and unapologetic. After listening to this I strongly believe Nadia could take over the world-I hope she does one gig at a time.
LISTEN TO COLD BEACHES HERE