Gloria Bangiola’s new album “Fool’s Gold,” which was released April 25, paints a portrait of the singer-songwriter during her college years at IU. Her sophomore album was released less than a month before she graduated from the Jacobs School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in music education.
“I’ve been working on this album most of my college career, and it’s like a snapshot of who I am,” Bangiola said.
She said the autobiographical nature of “Fool’s Gold” is a major step away from the themes on Bangiola’s first album, “Past the Window and the Well.”
She composed her first album as a series of vignettes about other people and their stories.
“It’s kind of an album about me looking out on the world and about what I thought of people when I was 18,” Bangiola said. “The thing is, between when I was 18 and now I’m 22 years old, what I think of the world has changed a little. It’s a lot more complicated because I’m more complicated.”
She said everything is more complicated for her on the new album, which she said she set up the album’s opening song “All We Need,” to show.
“When people talk about the future, religion, morality and other topics, they often oversimplify what they need to make things right,” Bangiola said.
She said the song ironically adopts that oversimplification before she demonstrates the complexity of the world around her in the songs that follow.
“Nothing’s as simple as just lining everything up,” Bangiola said. “You can have the best home in the world and all the beautiful things in the world and the right kind of religion, and there will still be things in your way.”
Bangiola deals with the complicated subject of religion repeatedly on her new album.
She said she views herself as part of a movement of women attempting to take back history, and the album’s final song “Sister” is her rallying cry.
“These stories that have been told by men for centuries, I wanted to take the opportunity in this album to kind of reclaim them for women,” she said.
Bangiola said women’s identities are central to the album. To brand that element of the album and round the album out to 10 songs, she chose to include one song not written by her: Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You.”
She said the song summed up the ideas she had for the album as well as her goals as a musician.
“I wanted to reference her and brand this album as something that was carrying that tradition of female folk songwriters forward,” ?Bangiola said.
On top of branching out in the subject of her songs, Bangiola also worked with other musicians for the first time in the making of “Fool’s Gold.”
She recruited Mark Edlin on percussion and Noah McNair on bass guitar and said the collaboration changed the entire effect of the album. She said the song “Walking Song” best demonstrates the effect.
She said the song was typical at first, then Edlin and McNair started working on it and the song started to take on a meaning of its own.
“The addition of these people changes the whole tone,” Bangiola said. “Writing in my room by myself, I never would have considered how much that would impact the message of the album.”
Now as a college graduate, she is moving to New York City. She said she plans to shop the album around, keep writing and always move ?forward.
Whatever the future holds, Bangiola said she believes “Fool’s Gold” has succeeded in the complex, difficult task of capturing herself in music.
“It’s harder to capture all of that messy, nuance of a single person, and that was the struggle of the album,” she said. “I think I succeeded with that.”