Marika Hackman – Big Sigh

On her fourth studio album, Marika Hackman doesn't hold back; Big Sigh revels in honesty as its creator confronts some of their darker feelings

Album Review by Mia Abeyawardene | 08 Jan 2024
  • Marika Hackman - Big Sigh
Album title: Big Sigh
Artist: Marika Hackman
Label: Chrysalis Records
Release date: 12 Jan

Marika Hackman’s fourth studio album Big Sigh is a cathartic release of melancholy reflection, self-described as the "hardest record" she’s ever made. Opening with The Ground, an intriguing spacey, minimal instrumental, we land sharply in Hackman’s world, painted in shades of grey, haunted by the memories of those who have been loved and lost.

Lead single No Caffeine cuts deep to the core, offering mundane mantras of how to get through depressing days without a pick-me-up. She reflects on a number of frustrations – sexual and emotional – as she drearily accepts the monotony of everyday living. The title track is mellow and sultry, with the punitive lyrics, 'I’ve been good, I’ve been bad, I’ve been better', but as she exhales her discontent, the track picks up pace with haunting screeches and transitions into an optimistic rock ballad, accepting her emotions.

Looking for an escape from dull monotony, Hackman ponders the individuality of human nature, and sardonically jokes that all of life's problems would be solved if we just took our vitamins, while album closer The Yellow Mile – a folky finger-plucked guitar melody beneath whispery vocals – looks timidly back on leaving behind a time where Hackman was ‘happy for a while’.

Big Sigh's strength is in not holding back from confronting darker feelings, and revelling in the raw honesty of experiencing them.

Listen to: No Caffeine, Big Sigh, Blood