Fletcher’s ‘In Search of the Antidote’ Is a Sticky, Syrupy Gossip Fest

In Fletcher’s second album, In Search Of The Antidote, she’s wearing a hot mess on her sleeves. The first track on the album delivers such a thesis: “You say I’m ruining my life on purpose just because I can/Maybe I am.”

Listening to her second album feels like listening to a sticky, syrupy gossip fest amongst friends. But Fletcher primed us well for that. In her first album in 2022, the singer took a page out of the playbook of a patron saint of the lesbian community: Taylor Swift. Her song, “Becky’s So Hot,” taunts and teases an ex-girlfriend who’s in a new relationship. She even uses a real name, though not of the ex, but of the ex’s new girlfriend. This set the online white sapphic community ablaze two summers ago. The second album, though certainly more polite than the last, delivers a sequel to the drama with reflection, though she’s still Fletcher, so she’s still gonna have some attitude and a sense of humor. In the second track, “Doing Better,” she addresses the scandal of 2022: “Your girlfriend never thanked me for making her go viral. Fuck it, I’m her idol. I get sad and spiral.”

Beyond just the narrative story of the album and Fletcher’s drama-fueled, ego-fueled love life, it’s also a fun, concise, gritty pop-rock album. The attitude she puts into the music reflects the attitude every one of us projects toward ex-lovers, and the vulnerability that follows the chest-puffing reflects our own too. Sonically, Fletcher creates an amazing sense of tension in her songs, pushing and pulling, alternating between loudness and silence, highly syllabic lines and drawn out words. It’s really clear she understands pop music as a calculus, and she understands how to color it with her personality. Her tracks are so easy to dance to because she seems to understand a dance beat is about empathizing with and predicting the desires and needs of a listener.

I also have to say, I love a short album. This one is an 11-song, 31 minute record. To me, it shows she has a knack for knowing her strengths, or at least someone in her ear who takes her seriously enough to give it to her honestly. Fletcher is really good at cutting excess. The songs feel distinct enough to all be needed, similar enough to belong together on an album.

Her song, “Eras Of Us,” feels a bit like playing to the crowd in a way that bores me just a little. Especially with the word, “eras,” front and center. The pop fan habit of calling an album cycle an “era” is totally modern. There’s nothing wistful and vintage, nor edgy and forward-thinking about it pandering to the present. What once referred to a century or an art movement or a period of geological or technological history now means the exact opposite: a phase, a season, a moment cosplaying as something bigger and more meaningful. In my youth, we did this exact same thing to the word, “literally,” and something similar to the word, “aesthetic,” and the people older than me found that annoying, so I suppose it’s my turn to find this annoying.

I saw Fletcher last fall at All Things Go, aka Lesbian Coachella, and undeniably she was cool and hot, and so were all the girls on the lawn who stood up when she came on. She’s a natural popstar, so when she puts out an album or walks onto a stage, she knows her audience and she knows how to execute. I do feel like something is missing for me. I crave hearing her experiment with sounds and production in ways that invite the listener into her process and growth. She has such a captive audience now; she doesn’t need to make pop that spoonfeeds them. They’re already listening intently. She is undeniably good at delivering her cleverness, undeniably good at flirting with the line between harshness and edge, undeniably good at managing attention, or at least seems to be. Fletcher has the capacity to crack her world wide open. We see it in her lyrics, and we see it in the way she’s setting up the rest of her career. I still want to hear it in the sound.

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Aamina Inayat Khan

Aamina Inayat Khan is a culture writer in Brooklyn, NY. You can find their other work at Teen Vogue, Vogue, the Cut, W Mag, The New York Times, and on Substack. Follow on Instagram and Twitter at @aaminasdfghjkl

Aamina has written 5 articles for us.

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