Forming an emotional bond with a song is so vital for me when heading in blind to a new review, especially when in this instance the lyrical content of the track is so direct and affronting of a painful relationship breakdown.
What I can’t get my head around, then, is how ‘sickly-sweet’ overrides any sense of the listener forming a genuine connection to the narrative Kirsten McKay is intending on getting across on ‘She’s Taking All Her Friends Back’. There seems to be a disconnect between vocal delivery and vocal content, all muddied by glossy dreamy pop-production and overly distracting harmonies.
I think my main issue with this one is that final disconnect; for me, there’s just no realism in the vocal delivery. In lyrics where I want to feel the anguish and be wrapped up into McKay’s heartache I’m left feeling as if I’ve had, at most, the minor inconvenience of missing the tube. T
here’s be another one in a couple of minutes time so, at worst, I’m feeling a slight pang of annoyance rather than gut-wrenching sadness. “Whatever, oh, never mind” (just past the 1:15 mark) is a good example to draw on from; there’s no obvious link between the delivery of the words and what they seem to mean to the songwriter. If you’re going to write a song about something that is painful, which in and of itself is both vulnerable and admirable, make me fucking feel that pain. I want to live and breathe it and know it from what I’m listening to; I want raw abjection, not mild ambivalence.
It really isn’t for me this time around, unfortunately. It all just sounds a little too disjointed in respect of aim/execution, and I just can’t find myself getting behind Kirsten’s new single. I’m getting all the wrong feels from it, as if nothing it really tries to hit home with is fully envisioned and executed to where it could be.
The harmonies just don’t sit right with me; there’s either not enough depth/consistency to them or where it’s clear they’re designed to be fractured and angsty, they’re not quite that either. It’s a bit messy as if one vocal line is fighting for its place in the forefront, but none of them end up winning out over one another.
Make me, the listener, a part of that in-fighting of emotions, enthralled by the twists and turns. Don’t make me confused and jarred by it instead.