Ailbhe Reddy: Personal History review – Debut full of radio-friendly songs with substance

The Dublin artist knows the advantages of a decent guitar-pop song, and Personal History is full of them

Personal History
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Artist: Ailbhe Reddy
Genre: Pop
Label: Friends of the Family

Most people will know that songwriting is, to varying degrees, as self-therapeutic a pursuit as stretching out on a brown leather couch and spilling your mountain of beans to a psychiatrist, who in return will make you better understand yourself.

Few songwriters, however, have actually studied psychotherapy in the lead-up to writing songs for their debut album, yet Dublin musician and songwriter Ailbhe Reddy removed herself for a year to do just that.

The outcome features, as she says in the accompanying press release, “my journey with self-acceptance”. Such openness is all well and good, but if the music doesn’t shape up then any resulting imbalance is awkward. But Reddy knows only too well the advantages of a decent guitar-pop song, and Personal History is full of them.

Traces of other artists seep through – those who admire the likes of Mitski, Julia Jacklin and Phoebe Bridgers will find much to like here – but the prevailing tone is of Reddy herself, a woman who has taken time to not only self-discover but also to write a batch of radio-friendly songs that have real substance.


From the fingerpicked folk/pop poise of Loyal and Self Improvement to the expressive calm of Late Bloomer, Reddy has delivered not, as one might presume, too much information but rather an accurate relationship between common sense and hidden depths. In short, personal herstory.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture