Sam Evian's new LP, You, Forever, opens with a defiant statement that seems to underpin every following track: "I don't care / I don't care anymore / Not like before." The playfully titled "IDGAF" unfolds like a resolute love song, declaring the singer's intent to reunite with a partner, past indiscretions be damned. But in a twist that goes on to contextualize the whole album, the "you" Evian wants to run back to isn't a lover—it's himself.
There's a foundation of rambling Americana throughout You, Forever that recalls the whirlwind tour that inspired the record. "Country" is probably the most on-the-nose example ("Hold on tighter to me baby / Don't let go / We've got miles and miles of country / Before we're home"), but foot-tapping standout "Now I Feel It" conjures similar vignettes ("At night I'd fly down country roads and flip the lights off under the stars").
Finding oneself on the lonesome road isn't exactly a novel theme, but it's one Evian executes with aplomb. The energy and style of You, Forever ebbs and flows in a capricious stream of consciousness, darting from wistful, dreamy folk to infectious, upbeat pop and back at the drop of a hat. The introspective longing of "IDGAF" gives way to the dancey psych-pop of "Where Did You Go?," which in turn begets the crunchy ballad "Health Machine." It's a beautiful structure that mirror's the artist's vivid internal life.
You, Forever is an excellent follow-up to 2016's Premium in every way. Evian's keen songwriting instincts have always been there, but his latest work feels like a more thoughtful and fully realized collection. And perhaps most importantly, his hooks are as subtly irresistible as ever, threading the needle between summer hit machine and contemplative odyssey and making it look easy.