Most year-end lists focus on albums that make broad, sweeping statements about culture in an attempt to sum up “2016 in music.” My lists always look different because I tend to dislike those albums. Instead, my favorites are like Free Cake For Every Creature’s Talking Quietly of Anything With You — small, intimate albums that carve out a little space for themselves and the listener without self-consciously trying to feel “important.”
Free Cake For Every Creature is the brainchild of Philadelphia singer-songwriter Katie Bennett, who comes from the Rose Melberg school of indie pop. Like Melberg’s first band, Tiger Trap, Talking Quietly of Anything With You has a lot of fuzzy pop songs about feelings and a youthful, energetic sound. It’s a style often reductively labeled as “twee,” but I have a soft spot for this style of indie pop, which (when done well) feels really genuine.
Bennett’s style of singing helps make the album feel more intimate; she sometimes approaches more of a whisper, like a friend who is telling you her secrets. Her sharp lyrics capture the feeling of being young and the whirlwind of feelings and experiences you have that you don’t necessarily understand yet. She’s also funny, and a lot of what made this album stand out for me was its warmth and optimism — Talking Quietly About Anything With You is kind of like a musical hug.