Dove Cameron is back. Sporting a new alternative look, she makes her Disney days seem decades ago, even if she started Liv and Maddie only in 2013. After controversially removing her past music from her discovery, Cameron promised a new album with a new look and a new style, and she dropped just that with Alchemical Vol. 1.
While Cameron is already teasing Alchemical Vol. 2, quoting, “sooner than you think”, let’s take a moment to address the new pop-alternative queen on the block. Whether she’s breaking gender stereotypes in her 50s-inspired music video for ‘Breakfast’, making us debate our long-term relationships with ‘Boyfriend’, or creating the ‘Starbucks lovers’ effect with ‘Lethal Woman’ – did you know, it’s “she floats like an angel” and not… you know, what we heard – Cameron’s return to music has certainly turned heads and helped her to remove herself from her Disney starlet era.
Dove Cameron vowed only sad songs after the album’s first song ‘Lethal Woman’ dropped, and delivered. ‘Sand’ was the first taste of what was to come before the release of Alchemical Vol. 1 on December 1st, 2023. It’s somehow sad, fast-paced, and still contains her seductive voice, but the lyrics are deep and meaningful and only excited me for the official launch. The second song ‘Still’ is a melodical, typical sad song but is sure to leave a mark on your playlist, if not reach your Spotify Wrapped 2024. ‘Breakfast’ is next, and one we all know and love. It screams girl power while also breaking down those gender stereotypes I mentioned before with its accompanying music video. ‘Sand’ follows, and the mood swings you’ll feel while listening to this eight-track album are real (does that count as a criticism?). ‘White Glove’ is hauntingly brilliant with Cameron using her wide vocal range. It’s also her first explicit song on the track list. ‘God’s Game’ is much slower and personal, and Cameron sings about how she was moulded to fit everyone’s needs from her Disney days yet did not protect herself from the hurt of broken-down relationships. However, it’s all good because we are then seduced by Cameron with her song ‘Boyfriend’, the second explicit song on the album. Finally, ‘Fragile Things’ takes us to the end, and I am in love with how the chorus is almost carnival-like which works well with her low voice. It does seem very much like an ending song, and while it is the usual three minutes and thirty-four seconds, it feels even shorter.
In 22 minutes, Dove reinvents her entire discography. The concise nature of the tracks fits with her new era.
Initially, the stripped-back nature of Cameron’s album cover made me think of Selena Gomez’s Revival or Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and how they used it to (sorry for the GCSE English lecture) rid them of the cloak of their past, show their vulnerabilities and give a personal perspective through their album. Cameron is clothed, and if you’d like to analyse the meaning of this, you’re more than welcome to.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I don’t know why Dove Cameron wants to be with me so badly, but I accept. She isn’t just the seductive, low-voiced, mysterious girlfriend we thought she was, she’s much more, and I can’t wait to see what else she has for us with Alchemical Vol 2.
Alchemical Vol. 1 is available on all major streaming services as of December 1st. Watch the video for ‘Breakfast’ here.