tip/toe, ‘IPSHST’

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(Self-released, digital)

Taylor Swift’s July surprise album Folklore includes a line about letting go of bitterness toward her exes and sending their babies presents. At 35, I’ve moved on from my share of relationships, and I can say with confidence that, even though I’m way over them, I’ve never sent any of their babies presents. That’s a weird thing to do, and old feelings just aren’t that simple.

As Burlington singer, songwriter and producer Connor Meehan, who goes by tip/toe, tells it on his latest indie-pop offering IPSHST (which stands for “I probably shouldn’t have said that”), closure happens in fits and starts of rejection, self-consciousness and, hopefully, self-affirmation.

The album’s boldest pronouncement of strength in self, “crystalbutterfly,” is a defiant clapback to those who don’t see Meehan’s worth. It’s a moody and memorable track that would suit Halsey, Khalid or another slightly offbeat mainstream artist who flaunts their battle scars as badges of badassery. “Can’t you see this glitter on my wings? That shit ain’t free” might be my new mantra.

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In a fresh twist from his previous releases, 2019’s //astral// and the 2020 two-part album please the whole world [if all else fails], Meehan calls on collaborators for IPSHST. One of these is Hawaii rapper Thomas Iannucci, whose verse on “mosaic” provides a moment of levity with bars about sliding into DMs and meeting on Kauai.

The lighthearted pop number borrows its conceit from Lorde’s “Supercut,” assembling the best moments of a relationship into a work of art. Like Ella Yelich-O’Connor, Meehan says he’s a synesthete who sees concepts in color. (He made this remark in a September Q&A in Paper

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magazine. What he didn’t discuss is his issue with the space bar. Based on his song titles, I speculate that the key did Connor dirty somewhere along the line, because apparently it’s dead to him.)
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Aqua blues and teal greens saturate everything from the album cover to Meehan’s social media to the video for “lilypads,” setting a contemplative mood that somehow feels more grown up than the pink and purple palette he used for //astral//.

The production is more advanced, as well. The 23-year-old crafts layered, nuanced sounds with dynamic electronic beats and tones. This go-round, he also employed vocal filters that cushion his singing — as soft and angelic as ever and sometimes bordering on rapping — within the music.

Releasing three LPs in less than a year, Meehan has put in work — and leveled up as a producer and songwriter. Through this thoughtfully constructed project, Meehan makes the point that love doesn’t happen in a straight line, and feelings — especially those belonging to other humans — don’t always do what you want them to.

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Visit linktr.ee/iamtiptoe to find IPSHST

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on various streaming platforms.

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