Donna Missal’s “Hurt By You” Is Not Your Typical Break-Up Song


Photo: Erica Hernandez

While Missal's voice has the ability to wrench your heart, "Hurt By You" is not about a heart-rending break-up. Instead, the new single is about the brighter side of letting go, which "doesn't have to signify loss and pain exclusively," as Missal explains. "You don't have to be hurt by change."

The song starts off with a major-chord picked on a folky guitar backed by a four-on-the-floor backbeat. From the very first vocal, Missal starts strong with her raspy, warm timbre.

Missal has a unique ability to display the power in her voice, even when she's not hitting high notes or showing it explicitly. Her passionate grit translates in her exhales alone, making her voice present throughout every second of the song, both during and in between lyrics. It is as though she is there in the room whenever and wherever her music plays.

Grit is not only a feature of Missal's vocals, but also of lyrics like "Only give me love when I'm giving it back," hinting at the toxic, contractual state of a relationship dependent on forced reciprocity. The lyrics continue, "Always on the train, never on the track," suggesting that despite putting in the work, the situation may no longer align; however, this does not have to be a bad thing. 

In fact, as Missal describes it, sometimes cutting yourself loose creates room for "autonomy, freedom, and room to grow." The chorus tagline, "I'm way too far away to be hurt by you" carries this idea a step further, reflecting how emotional frustration and exhaustion can foster not only emotional distance but also a zealous will to walk away.

"Hurt By You" is the first single from Missal's much anticipated new album, set to be released later this year. A powerhouse from the studio to the stage, Missal will be a special guest on Lewis Capaldi's sold-out European world tour starting this March. Until then, we'll be replaying "Hurt By You," an empowering reminder that letting go can have silver linings.

Listen to "Hurt By You" below: