Rage, confusion, despair, self-deception, and introspection—Madi Diaz cycles through the full spectrum of emotions on History Of A Feeling, her debut on ANTI-. It’s an album that undeniably marks Diaz’s status as a first-rate songwriter, a craft she’s spent years refining, and one wherein Diaz establishes herself as an artist capable of distilling profound feelings with ease.
On History Of A Feeling, Diaz comes to terms with the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. By the end of it, she wills herself into a self-reflective state where she doesn’t hate herself for being so heartbroken. She plays the line between the personal and the general with dexterity: in Diaz’s hands, quiet moments of self-pity are transformed into grand meditations on heartbreak, and unwieldy knots of big existential feelings are smoothed out with a sense of clear-eyed precision.
Diaz pulls from a range of folk, country, and pop leanings—she is as much influenced by Patty Griffin and Lori McKenna as she is the sonics of PJ Harvey and directness of Kathleen Hanna. Her strikingly honest lyrics describe crying on the Brooklyn-bound M train and the boiling point level of resentment that builds up after months of ambivalence. It’s relatable to anyone who has experienced heartbreak and great change in some manner, and this sense of intimacy and camaraderie she seamlessly weaves into the songs was important to her. “I wanted it to sound conversational, like I had just walked over to your house and we’re sitting and at the end of your driveway talking—just like we’re hashing it out in the same way that you’d call a best friend at one in the morning because you needed to talk about what just happened.”