Arlo Parks is back with her second album, My Soft Machine. Consisting of 12 tracks, the L.P. features leading singles such as “Weightless,” “Impurities” and “Pegasus” featuring Phoebe Bridgers.

The project follows her 2021 debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, for which she was nominated as best new artist and alternative album at the 2022 Grammy Awards. The London singer and songwriter has opened for other artists such as Harry Styles and Billie Eilish. Parks even embarked on her own U.S. tour, which she had to cancel in part due to her mental health. 

She started working on some of the songs like “Impurities” before her first album was even released. 

“That was the first song that I felt like really captured the energy of what I wanted to do with the record,” she told Variety. “Then January and spring of 2022 was when the rest of the music came together.”


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Parks also shared the poetic inspiration behind the album’s title. 

“The soft machine is the body, the brain and how it’s much more exciting to create work that comes from a subjective place that’s seeing through someone’s eyes and heart and the details of the memories that they remember…” Parks said.

“Soft, obviously being an exploration of that sense of tenderness and gentleness and compassion, juxtaposed with the machine, that conjures up images of steel and coldness and something inhuman that has no thought or soul,” she added. “It captured the fact that this is an album of light and shade. It’s about numbness but also being hypersensitive, and even extroversion versus deep introversion and community versus solitude. I think it just captures a lot of those contrasts really nicely.”

The album takes on various themes, including self-exploration and the anxiety that comes with being in your 20s.

“There’s something really profound about the years where you find yourself, where you have to decide where your place is in the world… There’s something quite painful about that journey, but also beautiful, because it’s something that everybody goes through,” Parks said.

“And when you’re in it, you feel like you’re the only person who doesn’t have it figured out, and then you talk to more people, and it’s like everyone is in the same boat,” she adds. “I’m still figuring it out, and I feel blessed to know that I’ve got something that feels like a purpose to me, but it’s still complicated, you know?”


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Love is also a recurring theme on the album. Parks said what makes a good love song is the bittersweet feeling that comes from it. 

“Maybe you’ve been writing this in the corner of the room whilst your person is cooking or on a phone call or whatever. I think there’s something really beautiful to that,” she said. “I just love a bittersweet song, like a tiny element — I’m not saying it has to be like, “I love you, but it’s almost over” — it doesn’t have to be depressing, but I like it when it’s not completely blissful.”