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the final track off tate's ep shines a new light on the relationship she mourns. through the opening lyrics, tate alludes to the overwhelming feeling that she was holding back her partner when they were together. through real life metaphors, she confides in her audience that she could have been the issue. all of this internal dialogue is matched with the realization/fear that her old partner is now "better" without her. intricate dynamics intentionally mirror the rise and fall in lyrical waves of emotion.
live-drums provide a shade of warmth while gritty electric guitars add integral texture. at the climax of the bridge, tate's vocals can be heard soaring in the rafters giving the feeling of running wild as thoughts swirl uncontrollably. indie, pop, rock, and folk elements work together seamlessly to create a spectrum of sound without feeling overwhelming. each listen provides an opportunity to hear something new. with the help of producer, chris cassriel, 'better' blends longing, fear, and anger together to create a song that takes listeners on a journey of self-exploration which allocates space for both reflection and/or escape.
opening with an allusion to a relationship on the rocks, tate’s raw lyricism and crisp vocals give listeners a glimpse into her inner conflicts. lyrics reveal an emotionally drained woman unable to give up on this unequal partnership, even though it leaves her exhausted. her reflection on the emotional turmoil by a partner not giving their all, but not wanting to close the door on them, is highlighted in her hook, “never gonna get any closure, coming back to you over and over and over and over and over.” underneath this lyric, the steady, rhythmic guitar played by tate, percussive elements played by ross hodgkinson (laura marano, del water gap), and the swells in the music by producer, chris cassriel, contribute to the feeling of heartbreak and insanity.
as the song progresses, there is an anger and desperation noticeable in her vocals, lyrics, and further felt in the deep, low bass cassriel introduces. the use of repetition is used tactfully, seemingly to illustrate the illusion of being stuck in a cycle you can’t break. the silky, smooth, warm feelings that are created operate in ironic contrast to the melancholic, forlorn message expressed.
folk colors mixed with modern indie sounds paint the background for this gut-wrenching acoustic pop ballad to land on, with mesmerizing vocals that take listeners on an emotional journey. keep the tissues in reach for this one.
jumping into the scene with her debut single dead end makena tate establishes herself as a clever lyricist and impressive vocalist. a relationship going nowhere. nothing is wrong, but nothing is overly right. when something feels off, it’s hard to shake that feeling. tate sings with a solemn tone about the idea of trying to make yourself feel more for someone than you do in an attempt to protect their feelings.
santa barbara native and american idol competitor jackson gillies, was able to show off his skilled production knowledge by assisting tate with crafting a solid foundation for her bittersweet vocal delivery to land on. with their sonic inspiration being phoebe bridgers, the pair took on the challenge of creating an eerie, but palettable atmosphere fitting for her song. synth pads, moody electric guitar tones, stacked vocal harmonies, and even the sound of a car engine, all contribute to the idea of trying to find yourself after being lost in someone.
a perfect song to listen to while driving, running through a field of wildflowers in search of escape, or when you just need to feel less alone.
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