With his duo Majical Cloudz, Welsh found a huge audience for that vision: he released two critically-acclaimed LPs with Matador Records, and went from DIY house-show tours to playing arenas with Lorde. Moreover, Welsh created life-affirming moments: on-stage, he looked people in the eye—blurring the line between music and performance art—and could bewilder listeners or make them cry. But after disbanding Majical Cloudz in 2016, Welsh retreated to take stock of his purpose as an artist. He shifted his relationship with music. His solo album, Dream Songs, arrived in 2018, rescaling the pulsing heart of his work with arresting orchestral arrangements.
Welsh’s second solo album is called True Love, and it strengthens the poetry, illumination, and appealing minimalism of his best work. Working more fluidly and intuitively than before, Welsh reflects powerfully on the ambiguous emotional spaces around love—romantic, platonic, internal; how love can be a game, a daydream, a paradise, or horror. Flipping the fantasy of “true love” that prevails through pop culture, Welsh set out to articulate the human heart from realer angles and depths: True Love is instead an honoring and an investigation of “true love”’s complexities. “A lot of the songs are about the difficulties and grey areas around love—about everything that can go wrong or get complicated about loving somebody,” Welsh says. “They’re about actual love. I’m just trying to express things that feel intimate and worthwhile, but leaving it a little bit with a question mark.” In an era of widespread burnout, it feels radical and hopeful to see an artist reckon with these realities and find a personal path forward—and in his songs, a disarmingly clear sense of self.