Every human being struggles with identity and coming into themselves at some point in their lives. Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana’s debut album is a familiar and inspiring soundtrack for everyone trying to understand who they are. Sultana released Flow State on Aug. 31.
Sultana came to prominence after their popular single “Jungle” was voted into third place in the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2016. From there, Sultana gained even more of a following.
Sultana started their career by sharing homemade videos online, which eventually went viral. Within a year they went from recording these videos to performing in front of huge crowds at festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza.
Flow State’s opening song, “Seed (Intro),” is about putting in the work and trusting the process of growth, eventually finding your way home to the people you love.
Sultana sings, “I’m always gonna know the right way to go/because the feeling always shows the way back home.”
This first song sets up the use of emotions as a compass to find what’s right for the listener. As the album continues, Sultana continues to explore this theme further.
One of the most popular songs from Flow State is “Murder to the Mind.” In the first verse, Sultana sings, “I couldn’t see the beautiful world that was in front of you, and I was begging for forgiveness but I couldn’t forgive myself, and I was screaming out for help.”
With these lyrics, Sultana further examines the idea of growing and finding a home, but “Murder to the Mind” also explores the flipside. The song’s narrator is struggling to listen to their emotions. They are looking for others to make them feel better instead of finding peace from within.
Sultana demonstrates their growth in “Salvation,” in which the narrator explains how they don’t need anyone else to feel worthy of what they desire.
“I don’t need your loving for my salvation,” Sultana sings. “I found myself between the dirt and desperation/ I don’t need you for my own validation/ I said the road is long/ keep carrying on.”
Through “Salvation” Sultana finds a sense of strength and self-love.
One more popular song from this album is “Cigarettes” which cements all the themes of self-acceptance and recognizes the narrator’s need to handle emotions in a healthy way.
“Got a pack of cigarettes/ 25 in a deck/ Don’t you know this shit is not gonna solve your problems?” Sultana sings. “I fly like the bird/ above all of the bullshit/ and I’m looking down on myself/ to start all of the good shit/ and I know, I know, I know it’s coming my way.”
This song in particular speaks to Sultan’s growing knowledge and maturity as they begin to notice where they can take different steps to find the right direction again.
Flow State is not an album to miss. Its explorations of love, identity and self-acceptance are incredibly insightful. These themes are similarly pertinent in current cultural conversations related to connection, vulnerability and self-awareness.
Sultana’s album exceeds expectations due to the artist’s evident growth. Listening to this album provides the listener with the understanding that this artist is not just creating music, but is creating themselves through their own music.