Tender Forever – “The Soft and the Hardcore”

Tender Forever is the stage name that Melanie Valera goes by. She was born in France but currently lives in Portland, Oregon. She is signed by K Records, an independent record label in Olympia, Washington.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The vocals on Tender Forever’s songs are outstanding. If you like indie music, you will like Tender Forever. Her songs are very sweet and have a romantic sound to them. That being said, listeners may find the unique sound a bit strange at first.

On “The Feeling of Love,” the harmonies are nearly flawless. The percussion on this song is odd, though, and I found it distracting. The last minute or so of the song is the best; the percussion becomes less distracting, and the background instruments become clearer.

Many of the songs on this album are very short. The first song, “Every Monday,” is only 40 seconds. “This is Hardcore” is slightly less than a minute. The remainders of the songs stay well under the four minute mark. This is great for listeners who like their songs to be short and sweet.

The next song, “Make Out,” has an excellent instrumental line; one of the catchier songs on the album. At this point in the album, we’re getting a good feel for the romantic theme.

“Then if I’m Weird I Want to Share” is another one of the better tracks on the album. With a simple, crisp, chord progression, this song is catchy, and the lyrics touch on the theme of sexuality. “Hot” has one of the most complex instrumental structures on the album.

“Happy Birthday” is an upbeat song. With the lyrics “Just know you’re amazing” and “I’d like to say thank you/for letting me know you,” this is a great cheer up song.

“Marry Me” is another simple, cute tune, similar to the first few tracks. The song “Tender Forever” is the best song on the album, it has a sense of urgency and a minor tonality, and really stands out.

“The Magic of Crashing Stars” starts off slow and simple, and ends with a slightly more chaotic sound. This finishes off the album well as a last track. The order of songs on any particular album is important, and Tender Forever arranged them just right.
Many of the songs, specifically the first several songs on the album, sound very similar to each other, which may bore some listeners. However, for those who keep listening, it gets better.