On Oct. 13, 2023, Dublin-based popstar CMAT released her second studio album, “Crazymad, For Me”.
The album was released a little less than two years after her debut album “If My Wife New I’d Be Dead,” which topped the charts in Ireland and eventually won Album of the Year at the Choice Music Awards. Following its release, Ciara Mary-Alice Tompson, known professionally as CMAT, gained international following for her unique mix of witty lyrics and pop melodies infused with a country twang.
Now nearly two years and two tours later, CMAT has released another album. While the singer’s voice still retains an undeniable country flare, “Crazymad, For Me” deviates more into pop and rock genres. The album draws musical inspiration from Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell,” while the title comes from Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train (9 to 5).”
According to her Oct. 12 interview with The New York Times, this album harps on a romantic relationship she had with an older man while in her teens. “Crazymad, For Me” is “truly just a break-up album.” Thompson said on her Instagram, “Realistically [the album] took like six years of percolating around my head to come to the conclusion that the album makes – which is that time and perspective warps events, and there is no point to suffering.”
While they draw on related themes, each of the twelve songs on the album packs its own punch. For example, “Such a Miranda” is a beautifully stripped-down somber ballad while “Have Fun!,” the song that ends the album, is high on energy but sarcastic in tone. Throughout it all, though, Thompson carries an unmistakable tone of anger, vulnerability, and comedy, making her songs feel all the more authentic. That’s what makes this album incredible; it is undeniably her own.
My favorite song on this album, as well as the one I was most excited for, was “Rent.” I had actually seen Thompson perform this song twice before it was released, once in Dublin last December and in New York City a few weeks ago. At the latter concert, she introduced the song by saying that it was the saddest song she had ever written. As someone who has been listening to “Rent” nonstop since its release, I can confirm that this is true. What makes this song so sad, or perhaps what separates it from the thousands of slow, soft, and sad songs that arguably define today’s mainstream indie genre, is that Thompson is able to use the power of her voice to express an entire range of emotions within four minutes.
Thompson also uses this album to show that she is not afraid of experimenting with her music. “Where Are Your Kids Tonight?” (featuring John Grant) is evidently inspired by the ballads typical to the 1980s, specifically Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickinson’s “I Know Him So Well” from the musical “Chess.” The song is a masterpiece showing her breadth of musical talent and knowledge.
In her sophomore album, CMAT proves that her written, vocal, and production skills exceed that of the average pop star. Yet, while inarguably a musical shapeshifter, she shows that through it all she is capable of maintaining her unique, namely country, flare. “Crazymad, For Me” makes it clear that CMAT’s career is not only one to follow, but one that is far from over.