On ‘Amor Supremo,’ Carla Morrison Surrenders Wounded Love to Grandeur

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Carla Morrison has rarely been apologetic about her emotions. This is, after all, a person who insisted, “Déjenme Llorar.” Three years after that breakthrough single and another album later, the Mexican singer-songwriter has returned with Amor Supremo, and it’s clear something’s changed. She’s as openly heartfelt as ever, but now Morrison isn’t so focused on defending her right to wallow. Instead, she’s empowered by those experiences — and seems to have figured out how to truly love herself without letting anything get in her way.

The quiet, acoustic sentimentalism of past works simply wouldn’t be fitting for such an evolution. It just wouldn’t make sense considering the confidence and self-worth high Morrison has reached. Amor Supremo is appropriately as big as its name and content: Elaborate electronic and string-tinged soundscapes shape a sound that’s sublimely otherworldly, yet sturdy and commanding.

Even when she’s belting, Morrison’s voice is innately soft, and the pace of the album is on the slow, drowsier side. Crescendos are built with growing instrumentation, not accelerations in speed. It’s easy to confuse all that delicateness for weakness. But at this point in her career — her life, presumably— she’s anything but fragile. Three songs in, there’s a clear crux to who she’s become: “Vez Primera,” in which she laments a love lost, but only briefly. The real takeaway? The relationship taught her to love herself first and foremost. On the album’s most deceptively delicate tracks, it’s not an aching heart, but one strengthened. The same can be said for “No Vuelvo Jamás,” where at first Morrison rejects an unfortunate romantic reality before ultimately declaring she’s emotionally done, while still reserving a natural regret for what could have been.

Amor Supremo is not a condemnation of sadness; Morrison doesn’t pretend to be absolved of all melancholy. The difference now, though, is that she’s learned to cope constructively, to maintain a sure-footing of the self regardless of what hurdles she trips over. No mention of despair is without some resolution, some reinstatement of Morrison’s sturdy independence. Tucked away in the heartsick sway of “Tú Atacas,” there’s further proof: “He aprendido a estar sola con mi sombra,” she assures.