Seven Lucky Plays – Ilya E. Monosov

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Seven Lucky Plays, Or How to Fix Songs for a Broken Heart sounds like a collection of poems. The words are whispered with little to no melody and dangle gently amidst the foundation of a finger plucked acoustic guitar. Other instrumentation like cello, harp, Fender Rhodes, and synthesizers creep in the background and occasionally swell up to the surface but never take full focus.

These musical whisper-poems meditate on a broken heart and emphasize the emotional journey. “I Open My Arms” commences the album using the embrace as the act of emotional initiation. “The beauty that you are” finds Monosov sinking into his own black hole yet still enamored by what got him there. The words couldn’t be more stark, and the title simultaneously has both literally and ironic meanings. “I’ll Live My Life Without Pain” closes the album with Monosov moving on even if he’s still in love. He’s forced to make a choice that wasn’t his and he’s trying to live with it. He’s telling himself stories and revisiting memories. Seven Lucky Plays captures the obsessed yearning and melancholy overload that comes from missing a recently estranged lover.

Monosov frequently describes his muse as a deity and this couldn’t be more appropriate in this emotional context. Such power over his feelings and his life couldn’t be more god-like and religious, and like religion, Monosov’s belief is so strong he’s finding it impossible to convert. Seven Lucky Plays is heavy, somber, sad, depressed, full of love, and rich with feeling. More importantly, we’ve all been there.

The tricky part about listening to this album is that it might take you back to a place that hurts to even remember. It’s a place that was really hard to leave but once you left, you could never picture going back. Monosov sounds like he’s still in love even if it would be better to move on. It’s this enduring quality of his emotions that makes this love seem worth all the pain.