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Album Review

Wider is an apt name for Tender Forever's second album. This time, Melanie Valera's songs are wider-reaching, with a bigger, more polished sound — she's grown quite a bit as a producer since the days of The Soft and the Hardcore, presenting her "lo-fi R&B" with more colors and twists. But even though Valera works with a more fleshed-out sound, her songs have a light touch and a sharp focus. However, her vocals still provide some K-style roughness — at times, she's so choked with emotion, she can barely get the words out; at other times, they come rushing out with the force of new love. She flirts with '60s girl-group pop on "Nicer If They Tried"; "Folded Papers" is downright radio-friendly; and "Wider Too" piles on as many soaring vocals and choruses as can fit into just over three minutes. Though flourishes like the bright brass on "No One Will Tell No One for Sure" could overpower Wider's songs, Valera knows when to go for a more restrained approach, as on the wearily lovely "I'm So Tired" and "So We Could Deal." For every moment of ultra-melodic pop, like the clever "Doves vs Pigeons" (which likens love and sex to those two kinds of birds), there's a moment of confession like "In the Backyard" or "Heartbroken Forever," where Valera's singing and lyrics ("there is no more words to say here, and my heavy back is hard to carry") are sweetly awkward the way that only deeply felt things can be. This tension between pop and indie, love and heartbreak makes Wider a bittersweet but vibrant step forward for Tender Forever.

Customer Reviews

even better than the last one

i loved the soft and the hardcore. I listened to it over 300 times, this album is even better, great job Melanie, you should be proud.

She is incredible

Her music is sweet and sincere.


Quite possibly the best album EVER. I've listened to it over and over like 30 times so far and I'm still not sick of it. It is so sweet, raw, innocent and yet not, and completely spills every emotion of love and a time when all our hearts were wider. It reminds me of 2 girls holding hands, riding bikes, laughing til 3 in the morning. So sweet it makes you smile. You can't help it.


Born: Bordeaux, France

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Melanie Valera was part of a girl group cover band in her hometown of Bordeaux, France, before landing in Portland, OR, and starting Tender Forever in 2005. On Soft and the Hardcore, which appeared later that year through K Records, Valera sang tender, extremely personal songs about identity, relationships, and taking off your shirt, accompanying herself with simplistic acoustic guitar and laptop melodies. Similarities to Mirah and Anna Oxygen were acknowledged. Soft and the Hardcore was recorded...
Full Bio
Wider, Tender Forever
View in iTunes

Customer Ratings