1st Half of Album Review of Only Child by Sasha Sloan


Album cover to Sasha Sloan’s debut album, Only Child: Photo provided by genius.com developers on October 16, 2020. Some rights reserved to genius.com

 Sasha Sloan, a new 25-year-old artist on the scene, explains her debut album titled, Only Child as nothing short of a “quarter-life crisis album”. Whilst walking her audience through experiencing the process of putting together a compilation of songs during a pandemic, Sloan shares an even deeper message stating, “It was limiting, but also freeing. I got to be totally immersed in my own world”. As later contrived by an Apple music writer, solitude was identified as the secret trick to Sloan releasing an album full of “against-the-grain perspective” and “storytelling flair”. As the album takes listeners through hard-hitting topics such as body and online images, readers get a unique and raw experience that can best be described as an unapologetically human feeling and what Sloan promises as a real ride.

“I wanted every song to tell a real story” 


My First Impression: At first listen, I really enjoyed the first twenty seconds thoroughly. I appreciated the simple rhythm chosen for the song and really connected with the message of feeling insignificant and like you’re just “going through the motions” of life. As the song progressed and the chorus developed, I wound up not really enjoying the song as much as I anticipated at the beginning. I caught myself midway getting bored of the repetitive chorus and common upbeat strum found in most pop songs today. The song to me had the generic reading that the songwriter, Sasha Sloan, had found her person in this world and was expressing her love and gratitude for them. Therefore since “Matter To You” conclusively became a love song, I really didn’t enjoy the contents because I couldn’t connect with the emotions she was sharing. Although the song’s message was insignificant to me, I truly did appreciate the imagery created within multiple verses. 

Favorite Lyric: “They’re all living their own lives, And I’m a stranger, Just a face they’ll never know” 

These phrases present at the beginning of the song really touched me and got me thinking of how massive this world really is. Sometimes when you’re all caught up in your small network, you forget to take a breath and realize how much life has to offer. It’s crazy to understand that everyone is on a journey that you will never fully be exposed to or aware of. You could walk past a stranger that could have impacted your life tremendously if you knew them. The whole concept of a stranger is just so fascinating and it quite often frustrates me because I believe there has to be someone in this world who would understand and click with you completely, but you may never get a chance to experience their company. 

Sasha Sloan’s Interpretation: Surprisingly Sloan’s meaning for the song translated seamlessly from my interpretation. The songwriter shares that she found this website one night that had created the technology to allow the viewer to start at an atom and slowly zoom out until the tiny morsel becomes a plant or rock. These small objects eventually transition to bigger objects all the way until the viewer scrolls to Pluto. 

“I just felt very small after that. I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person, so when I start to think about how big the world is, I feel really insignificant. It can almost be crushing” Sloan states after experiencing the digital transformations. 

The songwriter furthers her realization by explaining that these feelings often consume her, but over time she has found love to be a countering force in combating her spirals. The feeling of purpose received from a loved one was so infectious to Sloan, that the song “Matter to You” was the best choice to kick off the album with. 

Final Rating: My final rating is 6/10 because I’m truly in love with the beginning verses and many of the images the writer creates, but the song is too repetitive for me to fully enjoy the tune. Some of the lyrics are truly magical and beautifully harmonized, but the tempo and overall delivery is just not something astronomically unique to the pop category. 


  1. Only Child 


First Impression: This song’s topic was definitely something I can connect to because I have a sister of my own and Sloan describes many scenarios in this piece about what she thinks it would be like to have a sibling close in age to her. The song made me remember and cherish all the things I may take for granted. Some of the memories Sloan longs for are moments such as when parents fight, coming home, and wedding days. I couldn’t even imagine going through life without my sister: someone who has grown up the exact same way I have. Pieces of life’s journey such as my sister’s wedding day are just parts of life that you live looking forward to experiencing. Additionally, some lessons in this world I feel are meant for two and you just can’t replicate the special bond you get from a sister or brother. It is truly a blessing to have a “built-in best friend” as Sloan refers to and a person you didn’t have to work to find, but who was a gift to walk through life with.  As the song goes on, Sloan continues to reference classic sibling relationships and it is just truly a touching piece to listen and reflect to. 

Favorite Lyric: “She’d be my built-in best friend right around my age, She would know how hard it’s been, cause we grew up the same way”

-This lyric truly had me reminisce on all the things my sister and I have been through. My sister is truly a part of me and is a big reason why I am the person I am today. She experienced moving with me and laughing through all the tough lessons, vacations, and truly special steps in life. This phrase just embodies everything my sister means to me and truly allowed me to fully appreciate the gifts of a sibling. 

Sasha Sloan’s Interpretation: Sloan explains that this song title had been written in her phone for months, but she had trouble finding an “angle” to fully express her emotions and obstacles as an only child. After one of her co-writers, Shane McAnally said, “It feels lonely being an only child” she began to gush on how easy it was for her to finish the song.

“I’m pretty cynical, I grew up really fast, and it was just my mom and me for a very long time. And only children often feel like outsiders, because we don’t learn how to fight with people, how to make up with people, how to grow” Sloan explains. 

The writer goes on to evaluate how not having the opportunity to experience even the basic lessons catered with having a sibling would later translate to the reason why she describes herself as so cynical and timid today. Sloan says, “It felt all-encompassing” when she finally put her struggle and yearn into words. She truly feels that she wouldn’t have suffered as much if she was given a sisterly company throughout her childhood.

Final Rating: My final rating is a 7/10 because I honestly don’t really enjoy the rhythm chosen for this song because it’s too slow and simple for my taste, but I really love the delicacy and emotion portrayed in this piece. It had me think of how lucky I am and I truly needed that. Very touching and heartfelt!


First Impression: I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. It was such an emotional song featuring concepts such as body dysmorphia and just sharing all the emotions of what it’s like to be a body-conscious person. This hits home to me and I’m sure many other people my age as well. It’s really hard these days to not feel like your face isn’t ugly or your body isn’t weirdly shaped because the beauty standards are just so impossible today. I really loved how she played with this analogy of what it would be like to have “a house with no mirrors” or in other words, not self scrutinize or care about other people’s opinions. I really enjoyed how she painted this freeing experience of what it would be like to truly embrace the authentic you. That conceptual realization had me choked up for a second because I just thought that for some reason everyone in this world created all these beauty standards, preferences, and stereotypes and then spend the rest of their lives trying to shape themselves to these unrealistic ideals instead of embracing themselves because the truth is, everyone just wants to fit in and be loved. At this point, the world has created such a monster that the only way to feel accepted is to conform to it, but it’s just so incredibly unfortunate. Besides the phenomenal message behind this song, the lyrics were just so spot on and ingenious! Contrary to the previous songs I have reviewed, I really enjoyed each lyric thoroughly and didn’t want the song to end! Additionally, again separate from her other selections, this song had a different rhythm to it which I appreciated! I will definitely be adding this song to my playlist. 

Favorite Lyric: There are so many touching lyrics to this song…it was just so perfectly written, so I had to throw in an extra favorite! 

  1. “I’d jump in a pool without thinking twice”
  2. “Not spend an hour pickin’ what to wear”

-These two lyrics were absolutely some of my favorite phrases because I was able to relate her experiences to myself. The words hit home because I can’t think of a time I switched an outfit because I thought it showed that my stomach wasn’t flat or that I didn’t suck in my stomach when wearing a bikini. It really had me reflecting on how hard I am on myself and how much the world’s standards have impacted and negatively molded me to hold such a toxic thought process. 

Sasha Sloan’s Interpretation: Sloan really was able to connect her image for this song to her audience because after reading her description of the inspiration for the piece, I immediately had that moment of “that’s how I was feeling too”. Sloan puts her artistic vision to words when she states,

“For me, the important thing was to make it as real as possible. A problem I have with a lot of body image songs is that they’re really empowering. It doesn’t feel real. Someone screaming on the radio doesn’t do it for me. So- I started pulling from real examples in my life-”

Sloan goes on to explain her experiences with eating disorders and body dysmorphia as well as the amount of anxiety she encountered whilst producing the song.

“I’ve struggled with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia for a very long time- and getting specific about these vulnerabilities. It was scary putting it out. I posted it and lay on my couch having a panic attack for the next two hours.”

Sloan also takes a moment to pay tribute to her boyfriend for coming up with the clever song title and prominent chorus line “House with no Mirrors”. She had said he had expressed the phrase when she was breaking down from a pair of jeans that appeared tighter than her previous experience with them. 

Final Rating: My final rating is 10/10 because I really enjoyed the experience and emotions the song brought out of me. It’s one of the first songs I’ve heard about body positivity that is truly raw and can be reflected upon. This song also has such a good rhythmic concept and beautiful imagery as well. A true heartfelt treat! I highly recommend giving “House with No Mirrors” a good listen. 


  1. Lie 


First Impression: This song definitely was not my favorite, but it wasn’t a terrible track. I really enjoyed listening to the intricate beats and mixes created for the song because it really added some spice and catchiness to the overall listening experience. But, I think without the uniquely manufactured base, the song would be a pretty generic pop song. The whole piece for me was about a rocky relationship that had lost its sparks. As I mentioned in the review for “Matter to You”, I really haven’t experienced this type of heartbreak and longing yet, so I don’t feel any connection to the lyrics. I will say, although I felt the lyrics itself were subpar, Sloan’s articulation and flow when singing her bars was so refreshing to listen to. There were many moments where she would pause right before the base dropped and then spit out the rest of the phrase right after and it was just perfect. So overall, I really appreciated different artistic choices within the piece, but wouldn’t choose to listen to the song regularly. 

Favorite Lyric: “Don’t be honest, promise me that you want this” and “I want you to lie, lie right to my face”

-My favorite written lyric was “Don’t be honest, promise me that you want this” because I have never really heard that emotion written in that particular way. So the format of the phrase (although the concept is moderately used in a lot of songs today) took me by surprise because of how different it was composed. Additionally, the contrasting things she’s asking in this lyric really portray the emotion of the song and the war she’s battling within. The contradictory phrase really had me understanding her pain at that moment. On another note, “I want you to lie, lie right to my face” is a part of the favorite lyric section because this is a perfect example of how incredibly unique the articulation and flow is in this song. Her timing when singing this phrase is phenomenal and my spirits were up so much when the bass dropped into an upbeat backtrack right after this lyric was sung. 

Sasha Sloan’s Interpretation: Wow! The interpretation of the song brings my opinion of the piece to a whole new level. What a creative and interesting perspective Sloan intended with this song. As I had guessed in my first impression analysis, “Lie” was indeed a song about a breakup Sloan had experienced, but her description of her creative process in writing this song actually ended up leading me to find connection and relation to the piece. Sloan explains further when stating, 

“I might actually be too empathetic. My mom’s the same way. We take other people’s pain and really feel it for them.”

So that first line of her explanation really struck a bone with me because I have someone in my life that has these qualities and it’s just such a beautiful trait to have. You always feel wanted and loved by them and that’s a really hard emotion to have portrayed on a daily basis. I also think of myself in some regard, not so much being too empathetic, but always feeling too many emotions. I know I’m a very emotional and people pleaser type of person because it really pains me when someone is unhappy with me and I very much care and try to sacrifice as much for others as possible. It seems like kryptonite in some instances because at times it can be very easy to get taken advantage of, but all in all, it’s still a trait I feel I possess. Anyway, that part of the explanation was the section that led me to reevaluate and feel strong emotion towards the concepts played within this piece. Sloan continues to explain her vision when stating, 

“Going back over everything in my head- how he felt, what he was thinking- is how ‘Lie’ was born. It was the first time I ever wrote from someone else’s perspective…I was the one who broke up with him”

I really appreciated this extra piece of information because it really developed a whole new meaning and appreciation of the song for me. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a song that was specifically written from a different perspective and for some reason, the lyrics resonated more with me through a different set of lenses. It brought on an additional layer of hurt that I wasn’t expecting and also reminded me how two people separating is such a brutal experience. 

Final Rating: Originally this song was sitting at a 5/10 specifically for the intricate melodies and flow found in the song, but after reading and understanding where Sloan was coming from with this piece, my final rating would be a 6/10. After experiencing a good deal of Sloan’s songs, I’ve noticed how raw and unapologetic she is about sharing her emotions. She breaks down this wall of pop singer and just allows you to connect with her emotions and feel everything that you bury away. She reminds you what it feels like to be human and I find that so comforting and needed.


  1. Hypochondriac


First Impression: At first I was pretty wary of the song due to its title, but I ended up really enjoying the story and character development present in the piece. It sort of gave me the same feelings and plot as the Miley Cyrus’ song, “Malibu”. Although the actual topic of destroying your body through drugs and then sort of reincarnating when you meet someone that makes you a better person isn’t really an experience I can relate to, I definitely can connect with how it feels to dig yourself out of a hard place and make it to the other side. I think the struggles people face in life are just such big moments to be proud of. It’s something you can take a look back at and think “I never gave up on myself and no matter how bad the circumstance was, I lived to see another day and didn’t quit until life got better”. That sort of character development is so honorable to me and something I personally connect to as well. I have also noticed that as the album progresses, Sloan starts to experience and incorporate different melodies and instruments into her songs. In the beginning, the beats definitely felt very generic, but as the album continued, the backtracks have gotten stronger and more unique which is super exciting for a first-time listener. 

Favorite Lyric: “I abused my kidneys, Knew I had two, so I didn’t think twice” and “Used to need an inhaler, Any time I went up a flight of stairs”

– The reason these phrases are my favorite lyrics is that I think they really portray the immense struggle she went through to get where she is today. Again, as I’ve brought up before, Sloan is a very personable and raw natured singer, so all of her experiences are straight on. I think the fact that she shared these specific instances really made the song real and the piece became less of an album song and more of an admirable story that I was intrigued to follow. 

Sasha Sloan’s Interpretation: Sloan’s interpretation of the song is quite simple in the fact that it serves as a tribute to her earlier life obstacles. In her explanation, Sloan tells the listeners how unhealthy and ill habited her life was as a child and young adult.

“I really didn’t take care of myself. My nutrition was horrible; I smoked a ton of weed and cigarettes. I had never heard of a vitamin. I basically grew up on fast food.”

Sloan later reflects that she feels her massive anxiety problem spans from all the bad habits she carried in her early years. After making it to the other side, Sloan expresses how hygienic and paranoid she is now about her health when jokingly adding,

“I’ve become the biggest hypochondriac. I literally went to the dentist yesterday because I thought I was dying of a tooth infection. There was nothing wrong with my tooth. This is the level of insanity we’re dealing with.”

Final Rating: After analyzing and enjoying the song, my final rating is 7/10. Although it’s not a song I will be adding to my playlist, the intricate and personalized story connected to the piece was something quite special and remarkable. Even though the differing experiences Sloan and I have had, I still was able to connect the song to myself in regards to going through any rough patch and reinventing yourself to be a better person. I know how hard it is and this song brought me right back to remembering some of my past and current personal struggles. 


Sasha Sloan pictured posing for a promotional photo towards Only Child album: Photo provided by Logan Potter on October 16, 2020. Some rights reserved to papermag.com

Final Thoughts & Suggestions:

My overall rating for the first half of Sasha Sloan’s debut album, Only Child would be a 7/10. What makes Sloan’s music such a unique and special experience for every listener, is her ability to portray such raw emotion so clearly. I really loved how she was able to talk about fairly circulated concepts, but really dig into the uncomfortable and personal parts that many people rarely share. For instance, Sloan was talking about how songs about body image that scream generic phrases such as “You are beautiful” just don’t come off as genuine as when someone recollects real habits they have inflicted upon themselves such as the feeling of uncomfortability in a mirror or at the beach. Although at times her songs can run rather generically and may lead you to zone in and out of them, I highly recommend that each listener read Sloan’s vision for the piece after listening. What I’ve noticed is that some of the songwriter’s most generic songs have the deepest meanings and messages behind them. Overall, I would definitely try the playlist out while you’re getting ready for the day or cleaning. But, if you don’t want to spend time listening to the full 10 song album, I recommend listening to “House with No Mirrors” (my personal favorite) or “Only Child” to really get a feel for Sloan’s intricate style.