ALBUM REVIEW: Juliana Madrid Articulately Grapples With Growing Pains & Acceptance In ‘Afterlife’

There’s something universal about coming-of-age stories.

No matter what stage you’re at in your life, you can always relate to the experience of learning, changing, and growing. At its core, this is the idea behind Juliana Madrid’s second EP, Afterlife, which was released via Neon Gold Records on Friday, August 11th.

A collection of eight songs touching on themes of romance, self-discovery, and life’s complexities as a whole, the EP finds a way to connect with the experience of each listener, doing so in magnetically melodic fashion. 

Madrid, a young indie-pop artist based out of Dallas, TX, seamlessly blends genres like folk, alternative rock, and pop to create a unique sound centered in dreamy vocals and production, catchy percussive rhythms, and jangly instrumentals. After she began playing guitar at nine years old and subsequently taking music lessons, Madrid gradually honed her skills and developed a style that is uniquely hers.

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Afterlife is a strong example of this style, showcasing her twinkling vocals and penchant for memorable instrumentals. 

The EP’s opening and title track serves as a story of accepting oneself, packed with honesty and relatability. Through lines like, “I’m not great but I might be alright / So kiss my perfect afterlife goodbye,” Madrid’s sardonic-yet-optimistic attitude conveys a classic feeling of growing pains and accepting who you are. 

Regarding the track, she states, “Recording the skeleton of the song was a really fun process, and one of my favorite things is the backup vocals and claps Ben [Ruttner] and I did that turned into this little janky but very cute sample throughout the song. The thing that really made this song next level to me though, is when James [Patterson aka JPatt] came in and shredded the bass line. It’s so sick.”

A standout on the EP and the second track, “Big Plans,” is an upbeat and dreamlike tune chock full of vivid imagery and nostalgic moments, like meeting someone “with the windows down.” This song encapsulates the feeling of trying to figure out your place in someone else’s life, and it’s an all too relatable feeling of frustration and longing.


About her newest single and the third track, “Satisfied” Madrid says, “This song is me bitterly reflecting on a drunken interaction with someone I met at a party with unrequited interest.” The track exudes the frustrations of youth, and the music video artfully crafts a tale surrounding the storyline.

One of the last songs on the EP, “Pixelated,” is a truly honest and beautiful reflection on feeling disconnected from your own life. Imagery-laden lines like, “I keep speaking up little fires / I got started on some pyro shit / But every once in a while comes an ocean / Crashing over the wall / And all the blaze I made looks different soaking wet,” manage to creatively express Madrid’s complex feelings.

On Afterlife, Madrid achieves honesty and relatability in a modern style that resonates far and wide. She will be touring with artists Cafuné and Saint Motel starting next month, and will be performing at the All Things Go Music Festival October 1st.

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