When Things Fall Apart is an invitation into Alexia Madrid’s inner world. In a time where human connection is often solely online, or several metres apart, Madrid offers the warmth, emotion, and tangibility, greatly missed, to this liminal space. If you take her hand, the Toronto-born singer-songwriter walks you through the interiors of her heartbreak.
An intimate and ultimately personal endeavour, Madrid ruminates over the breakdown and aftermath of a relationship throughout the nine-track album. A serenade, or perhaps more a dirge, to a previous lover, she explores and embodies universal sentiments towards love—a swirl of angst, vulnerability, and raw emotion. What may be a particular experience still entices the listener in, its sensibility easy to resonate with.
When Things Fall Apart is the Canadian artist’s debut album, following on from the launch of her first single, “For Me”, in April 2020. After a year and a half of working on the project, its release marks a new stage for Madrid as she navigates her artistic journey; one that’s becoming increasingly cohesive and captivating. With hypnotic rhythm, catchy hooks, and a strong pop aesthetic, Madrid crafts a soundscape that fuses R&B, pop, and soul stylings. “This album speaks of heartbreak, vulnerability, and raw emotion,” she tells us, “It is the rollercoaster of emotions we go through when things fall apart.”
The project mediates through the phases of heartbreak, and, whilst it’s realistically not linear, it finds Madrid exploring feelings of love, nostalgia, letting go, and, ultimately, a sense of resolution. “Love Ain’t Enough” opens the album with fears for the future, and introduces the question, a recurring aspect throughout the album, “what if love ain’t enough?” It’s these personal questions that add a layer of intimacy to the project; a wallflower to private thoughts, the listener can feel her intensity in both the vocals and direct address. In “Jealous”, she proceeds to confront the uglier, but most human emotions head-on, whilst the more mellow “Not The Bad” takes on a more rose-tinted, nostalgic direction. Emotions mirror heartbreak throughout, the intricate nature of growth entwined with a collection of songs exploring the highs and lows intrinsically attached. It’s perhaps in the album’s final track, “Your Lies”, where Madrid is at her strongest. As the production builds—heartbreak to dance away to—she demonstrates her versatile vocal range, concluding: “I keep waiting for you to realize you forgot about me // But maybe it’s better this way, you set me free.”
When Things Fall Apart and its whirlwind of emotion feels both cathartic for Madrid and as a listener. A captivating debut, it’s clear Madrid is an artist to watch. Check out the project below.