FLETCHER’s “Girl of my Dreams” takes listeners on a journey of self-love

Singer-songwriter FLETCHER’s debut album “Girl of my Dreams” is a collection of pop anthems that detail the artist’s journey from heartbreak to healing.

%E2%80%9CGirl+of+My+Dreams%2C%E2%80%9D+the+debut+album+from+pop+singer+FLETCHER%2C+reflects+on+heartbreak+and+healing.

Susan Behrends Valenzuela

A half-body portrait of singer FLETCHER captures the singer in the middle of taking off her white tank top. The portrait is cased in a teal and purple hue. (Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Lilia Gerstmyer, Contributing Writer

If there is one thing to be said about FLETCHER, it’s that she doesn’t hold back. 

Clive Davis alum and New Jersey native Cari Elise Fletcher, or — as you’re more likely to know her — FLETCHER, released her debut album “Girl of my Dreams” on Sept. 16. The artist’s first full-length studio album follows a series of singles and EPs, perhaps most notably including her 2019 single “Undrunk” and 2020 EP “The S(EX) TAPES.” Her music is also well known for its sapphic storytelling and this album solidifies her rise to queer pop stardom. 

“Girl of my Dreams” is liberatingly honest. FLETCHER takes the listener on a transformative and vulnerable 13-track journey of heartbreak, healing and self-love set to high-energy pop production.

The opening track, “Sting” sets the context for the album and recounts FLETCHER’s harsh and public break up with her former girlfriend Shannon Beveridge. Each of the tracks seem to fall into the different stages of mourning a ceased relationship. 

“Sting” and “Guess We Lied…” repurpose lyrics from FLETCHER’s 2019 single “If You’re Gonna Lie,” and deal with the hurt of missing a former lover knowing that they’ve begun to move on. The poignant lyrics reflect the bargaining stage of grief, such as “Maybe I like the way it sting / It’s all I got left of you and me,” and the second track, delivered with a pleading belt, “If you’re gonna lie / at least do it in my bed.” These songs are to the tune of catchy melodies, dance-pop production and strong vocals — the kind of break up tracks you want to cry, scream and dance along to. 

This heartbreak pop chronicle isn’t all about dancing around and getting your newly lonely frustrations out, though. There are slow acoustic ballads that feel better suited for a good cry alone in your bedroom. “Birthday Girl” is an acoustic depiction of the conflicting emotions that come with celebrating a birthday without an ex. The track feels better for a solo cry alone in a bedroom. It is reminiscent of being reminded of someone who used to be in your life, and for the first time, instead of feeling angry or hurt, you simply miss them and wonder if they might miss you too. 

The tracklist is ordered with intention, bouncing back and forth between upbeat pop break-up tracks, to heart-shattering slow songs. Much like Taylor Swift’s “Red” in both concept and lyrical veracity, FLETCHER’s album brings the listener along for every high and every toned-down, but equally as emotion-filled low of heartbreak. “Becky’s So Hot”  name drops Beveridge’s new girlfriend and is a controversial track about crushing on your ex’s new girlfriend — wanting to know how she tastes, to be specific. The song leads right into “Better Version,” a slow guitar ballad reflecting on the ways people can grow together but also apart, leaving better versions of themselves for new lovers. From there, we go right into manic “existential crisis mode.” “Conversations” is about 3 a.m. impulses to run away and dye your hair bright red, and taking new lovers in “Serial Heartbreaker.” To top it off, these tracks are followed by the undoubtedly soon-to-be sapphic anthem “Her Body is Bible.” Throughout these changes in tone, FLETCHER maintains vulnerable and authentic storytelling while flowing seamlessly through the stages of a difficult break up — from hurt, anger, sadness, jealousy and acceptance, to eventual self-discovery. The key to this album is the exploration and its messiness. The story is not linear, just as our emotions and relationships are not linear, but a resolution is still found. 

As this journey begins to shift from devastating heartbreak into first attempts at moving on — but here’s the plot twist: The titular girl of FLETCHER’s dreams was not her ex or a rebound, but herself the whole time. 

“Girl of My Dreams” recounts some of FLETCHER’s past heartbreaks before proclaiming, “I’ve got a new rebound / I’m falling for me now…” The remaining tracks on the album are a testament to this newfound self-love, from screaming “I Love You, Bitch” to herself in the mirror, to retreating to her own personal “Holiday” inside her mind, away from the stresses of the industry and past relationships. The most impactful of these tracks, though, is undoubtedly the album’s closer “For Cari.”

There is always something deeply personal about an artist with a stage name referencing their real first name in a song, especially when the repeated mantra is “This one’s for Cari.” The implied separation between all-caps, New York City-living superstar FLETCHER and Cari Elise Fletcher from the New Jersey shore is extremely powerful, especially with the former taking this moment to cheer on the latter. Any guard which may have been previously up is stripped away, allowing the listener a peek into the real life of FLETCHER’s girl of her dreams: her true self.

Contact Lilia Gerstmyer at [email protected]