Ethereal is the debut studio album by American actress and singer, Sofia Carson. It was released on January 27, 2017, through Capitol Records. The double A-side singles, "Ethereal" and "Confident" were released on August 19, 2016, with "Ethereal" being serviced to mainstream radio immediately after release. The song went on to peak at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, and topped the US Mainstream Top 40 chart as well as multiple international charts. "Confident" peaked at number 50 on the Hot 100. Two more singles preceded the album's release, the feisty breakup anthem "Not About You" on November 18, 2016, and the vulnerable ballad "Fragile Feelings" on January 6, 2017. Following the album's release, a further four singles were serviced to contemporary hit radio with the first of these being "Eclipse" on April 18, 2017, followed by "Get Me Started" on August 4, 2017 and concluding with "Used to This" and "Can't Get Over You" on January 5, 2017 and January 12, 2017, respectively. Carson stated that the album was born from a mix of personal struggles and a feeling of unfulfillment. Ethereal was well-received by music critics, with many calling it a strong debut effort. The album debuted atop the Billboard 200 Albums chart with 144,000 sales (96,000 pure sales).
Carson embarked on the Ethereal Tour, which began in the summer of 2017. The tour ran until December 2017, spanning 48 shows across three legs. The first leg took place in North America across the United States and Canada. It ran from June to August 2017. The second leg took place across Asia and ran from September to October 2017. The third leg took place across Oceania and ran from November to December 2017, officially concluding the tour.
Speaking in an interview for Apple Music on the subject of the album, Carson stated that she hoped to showcase her current state of mind with her debut effort. She also teased an unreleased track titled "Dance Like You Mean It". Carson appeared on the radio program On Air with Ryan Seacrest and told Seacrest that she created the album in such a short amount of time because she "always had a clear vision of what the album should look and sound like".
Music and lyrics
Ethereal is primarily a pop and electropop record which experiments with many genres, such as dance pop, R&B, funk and reggaeton. The main themes are of "heartbreak, self-love and moving on".
The album's opening track and title track, "Ethereal" is a pop and dance pop song with a "catchy, pulsating rhythm" and "dance-worthy production". The lyrics speak of an undeniable connection between two lovers, which often feels magical. The next track, "Get Me Started", has been called a "very sexual song" by Carson. Sonically, the song visits the "heady days" of disco. It is a "bright, bass-thumping" love song, with elements of funk. The album's third track, "Used To This", is an upbeat, synth-pop track with "playful lyrics and a pulsating beat".
Release and promotion
The album was released on January 27, 2017, through Capitol Records. The standard edition was physically released on CD, cassette tape, and vinyl, as well as made available for digital download and streaming while the deluxe edition was physically released on CD, and made available for streaming. The deluxe edition is distributed exclusively by Target in the US, and on Carson's official website globally.
The singles were actively promoted with numerous live performances, with "Ethereal" being performed a total of ten times, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. Carson also went on several interviews, going on The Ellen Show and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to talk about the album.
"Love Is The Name" was initially released as the lead single from the album on April 7, 2016, through Hollywood and Republic Records. An official remix featuring Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin was also released on the same day. It was written and produced by Steve Mac, with additional songwriting by Ina Wroldsen. Commercially, it reached the top forty on the Latin Pop Songs and Tropical Songs component charts of Billboard in the United States, and peaked inside the top thirty in Poland. The song's accompanying music video, directed by Hannah Lux Davis, portrays Carson dancing in the sunset on a beach and in a luxurious mansion. To further promote the single, Carson performed it on the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards. The song was dropped from the album following Carson's departure from the label(s). However, the song was included on the Target deluxe edition of the album, with newly recorded vocals and update lyrics and production. The new version was released separately on digital download and streaming platforms as a single alongside the album's release on January 27, 2017.
The album's official lead single, "Ethereal", was released on August 19, 2016 and was serviced to mainstream radio immediately after release. The track was written by Carson, Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, while production was handled by Hermansen and Eriksen under the alias of Stargate. The song marked Carson's first release under Capitol Records, following her mutual departure from her joint deal with Hollywood Records and Republic Records. The song was serviced to mainstream radio immediately after release. It later impacted hot adult contemporary radio on August 30. The song debuted at number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking Carson's first appearance on the chart as a solo artist. The song went on to peak at number four on the chart, and topped the US Mainstream Top 40 chart, which tracks the most played and the most listened tracks on pop-centric radio stations. The song reached number one on multiple official charts. The music video for "Ethereal" was released on August 26, 2016 and the song was performed live for the first time at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards two days later. The song received nine other televised performances and was heavily promoted throughout the rest of 2016. "Confident" was also released on August 19, 2016, as the album's second single. Despite not being serviced to radio, the song peaked at number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 15 in Canada. It was performed on live television twice.
"Not About You" was released as the album's third single on November 18, 2016. Carson wrote the song alongside the song's producer, Joel Little, and with Teddy Geiger and Scott Harris. She also has a co-producer credit on the track. The song was made available by digital download and streaming on November 18, 2016 and was later serviced to contemporary hit and rhythmic radio on January 2, 2017. The song peaked at number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 8 on the Canadian Hot 100, number 6 on the UK Singles chart, number 5 on the Australian ARIA Charts and number 7 on the New Zealand Singles Chart. It also peaked at number 3 on the US Mainstream Top 40 chart. Its music video was directed by Hannah Lux Davis and was released on December 30, 2016. Carson has promoted the song with televised performances on Saturday Night Live on January 14, 2017 and at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards on February 12, 2017, among others. "Fragile Feelings" was released as the album's fourth single on January 6, 2017, via the album's preorder. The single spent one week on the Billboard Hot 100, at number 94.
"Eclipse" was serviced to contemporary hit radio as the album's fifth single on April 18, 2017 and peaked at number 18 on the Hot 100, after debuting at number 72. The song peaked at number 10 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, becoming the album's third single to reach the top ten of the chart. "Get Me Started" was released as the album's sixth single and peaked at number 12 on the Hot 100, becoming a sleeper hit. The single became Carson's second to reach the top of the US Mainstream Top 40 chart, spending three consecutive weeks atop the chart. The song also reached the top ten in many international countries, such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom among others. "Used To This" was serviced to contemporary hit radio as the album's seventh single on January 5, 2018 and peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 on the Mainstream Top 40. "Can't Get Over You" was serviced to adult contemporary radio as the album's eighth and final single the following week and spent four weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at number 86. It reached the top forty in few countries, including Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. It was later certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
Year end lists
|2.||"Get Me Started"||
|3.||"Used To This"||
|4.||"Eat The Rich"||
|6.||"Not About You"||
|10.||"Can't Get Over You"||
|Target deluxe edition bonus tracks|
|13.||"Love Is The Name" (2017 version)||
|Japanese deluxe edition bonus tracks|
|14.||"Ethereal" (R3hab Remix)||4:18|
|15.||"Not About You" (Anki Remix)||3:03|