Tender Forever


Tender Forever, a solo project by the French-born K Records darling Melanie Valera, began in 2005 with The Soft and the Hardcore. On this sophomore effort, relationships remain Valera’s lyrical focus, and she still finds new ways to explore them, as on “Doves vs Pigeons”: “Oh when you talk about sex, you don’t talk about love. / It’s like saying that pigeons are nicer than doves. / It’s a lie and we lie.” Incisive lyrics and unusual vocals aside, Valera’s arrangements could use an editor. She’s responsible for nearly every sound on the 12-track album, which is impressive, but maybe too ambitious; some of her instrumentation jars. When she does exercise restraint, as on “How Many” and “Nicer If They Tried,” the result is pop perfection. Wider could be narrower at times, but it’s worth a listen.