Album Review: Claud — Super Monster

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Thursday, February 25th, 2021 at 12:00 PM
Album Review: Claud — Super Monster by Teddy Rankin

Claud’s debut album, “Super Monster,” is a charming depiction of modern romance. With relaxing low-key pop melodies and heartfelt lyrics, the 21-year-old artist accurately articulates the balance of euphoria and awkward letdowns that define young love. 

Claud, who identifies as nonbinary, offers an underrepresented perspective on classic love song themes. Feeling the beam of the spotlight for the first time, Claud addressed their pronouns in a tweet, with endearing Gen Z humor: “my pronouns are they/them but my preferred pronouns are gummy/worm.” 

“Super Monster” is one of those rare albums where there is no filler. In an interview with NYLON, Claud said that the final tracklist was carved out of over 50 demos, resulting in a high quality product. Their songwriting skill is highly impressive for a debut effort, and as Claud matures and develops, they will most likely become a fixture of this generation’s musical landscape. With a bright future in mind, let’s take a closer look at all 13 tracks.

“Overnight” 

The soundscape for “Super Monster” is established on the opener. The album’s cohesion can be attributed to the consistent sounds of effects-laden guitar, bell synths and Claud’s soothing vocals. “Overnight” describes the first night in a blossoming romance, melodically embodying the giddy feeling of new love.

“Gold” 

Following the initial honeymoon phase, our protagonist is starting to notice small cracks in the foundation of their relationship. Claud is realizing that they have lived an entire life before meeting their partner, complete with traumatic experiences that their significant other will never fully understand. This revelation simultaneously pulls the pair apart and pushes them closer. Nevertheless, the doubt lingers: “It gets old / Rust on gold.” 

“Soft Spot”

After spending some time apart, Claud recognizes how much they miss their partner. They run through imaginary scenarios  what would they say if they could see this person just one more time? Anyone who has been through a breakup knows this feeling well. One of the album’s greatest strengths is pairing the lyrical emotion with accompaniment that matches the themes.  

“In Or In-Between” 

This song marks the potential beginning of another new romance. The narrative of “In Or In-Between” follows Claud on an uncomfortable date at a bar that leaves them wondering about their love interest’s true intentions: “Can you spell it out for me? / Cause your lips are hard to read.” Meanwhile, Claud is also struggling to communicate their desires in this relatable track about the awkwardness of dating.

“Cuff Your Jeans” 

“Cuff Your Jeans” is an anthem for long-distance relationships. Though now based in New York, Claud is originally from Chicago and, with their music career taking off, travel is becoming a normal part of life. Claud expresses how much they are missing someone from their former life and implores them to “Cuff up your jeans” and visit.

“Ana” ft. Nick Hakim 

Claud delivers a devastating gut-punch with this track. “Ana” is a breakup song written from the perspective of a man who, despite loving Ana, has to follow his dreams and leave their love behind. It hits like a ton of bricks as Claud sings: “It's been a pleasure to be your man / And I could hold you for every dance / But if I don’t ever take this chance / Then I should never have been your man.”

“Guard Down” 

In this poppy track about seeing an ex for the first time since their breakup, Claud sings, “You’re seeing someone, I’m not though / And that feels really awful,” before revealing their inner monologue pep talk, “Don’t let your guard down.” Claud also switches up their vocal style in the song’s bridge with a pitched down rap verse about jealousy and hope for a potential rekindling. “Guard Down” ends with a show of Claud’s songwriting process without all the glossy production. Claud tenderly strums an acoustic guitar while repeating the secondary hook, “there’s nothing like a New York Summer.” 

“This Town”

As much as Claud feels tethered to their past in tracks like “Soft Spot” and “Cuff Your Jeans,” “This Town” shows they know that their best life lies in the future. Similarly to “Ana,” this track describes a yearning for adventure that requires leaving behind aspects of life that will always be meaningful. The young artist is experiencing their coming-of-age in real time, crooning, “There must be a reason / I’m changing with the season.”

“Jordan”

Claud finds themself in feeling such intense desire for “Jordan” that they would do anything to maintain their relationship. The intricately expressed feeling of inadequacy in this song is painfully relatable as Claud’s feathery layered vocals enter in the chorus: “I’ll keep saying, ‘sorry’ / For mistakes I never made / I’ll keep saying ‘sorry’ / Just to make it go your way.”

“That’s Mr. Bitch To You” ft. Melanie Faye

If somehow you read this review and decide to only listen to one song, please let it be this one! Have you ever been insulted and wished you had a perfect comeback? Maybe you spent the next few hours recounting the conversation in your head and imagining what you could have said to royally piss off whoever was messing with you. Well, now you can live vicariously through Claud as they are armed with the perfect retort. Any questions? Reread the title.

“Pepsi”

This track is a masterclass in using samples in production. The “Pepsi” chorus breaks through the sparse yet powerful verses with the crisp sound of a soda can opening, as Claud sings, “I don’t wanna be rude but this song is for you” (channeling Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”). Yet another heartbreak song, “Pepsi” is based on the popular Pepsi or Coke relationship quiz: “If I’m Pepsi / You’re Coke / We Both know that I’m right.”

“Rocks At Your Window”

The album’s short penultimate song accomplishes a lot in few words. Claud picks up an acoustic guitar to serenade their crush who is in a lackluster relationship: “Won’t you tell him to go / I know you don’t like to be alone / When you get sad / I’ll be throwing rocks at your window.” A brief but necessary break from the previously unrelenting lush soundscape, this song sets the stage for the closing track.

“Falling With The Rain” ft. Shelly

Pulling it all together, Claud recognizes the effects of their romantic endeavors on their mental health. Bouncing from new love to new love has been emotionally taxing for Claud, as they express the often unspoken fatigue and whiplash that comes with repetitive heartbreak. More than anything, Claud’s message is that, for young people, social life is moving faster than ever before and can be exhausting. It’s easy to get caught up in the currents of social pressures. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and learn to love yourself before you can love somebody else. You cannot pour from an empty cup.


There are countless love songs in this world. There are also countless songs about heartbreak. That’s because we’re programmed to feel those emotions deep in our bones and they’re universally relatable. Since these themes have been so thoroughly explored by the most incredible artists throughout history, it is noteworthy when someone strikes a new chord and can approach it from a new angle. This record will undoubtedly become a cult classic for LGBTQ(IA+) youths as it navigates the highs and lows of modern dating without ever trivializing or ignoring Claud’s sexual orientation. The first release from Phoebe Bridgers’ newly formed record label, Saddest Factory, “Super Monster” is a triumph of music production and lyricism.

Teddy Rankin is the Music Editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: album review

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