Photo: Phoebe Fox
Being truly vulnerable, while difficult, is important and often incredibly empowering. Holly Humberstone certainly embodies this idea with her new EP, Falling Asleep at the Wheel, which emits both a powerful vulnerability and empowering sense of revival.
"Drop Dead" is a perfect example of this sonic resurrection. The song begins with a ballad-esque piano and a vocal line Humberstone so gracefully navigates. As the chorus sneaks up, the sonic space widens and Humberstone sings, "I'll take your love / And tell myself it's good enough / But you know and I know / One look and I drop dead."
Like a bullet to the chest, Humberstone's lyrics hit hard, as she refers to the dangerous combination of a powerful gaze and a compromised version of love. In the second half of the song's tagline, "I drop dead," Humberstone drops in pitch with each word as the bluesy melody resolves.
The resolve queues a march-like drum pattern and a post-chorus hook sung with many layers in unison. This portion of the song radiates a stark bittersweetness, as if alluding to both a possibility of death and a call for resilience. The drums combined with the vocal layers paint a picture of a group marching together, united by the same strain of vulnerability and collectively resurrecting from it.
"Drop Dead" is accompanied by a music video in which Humberstone's eyes are locked with the camera, compelling the eyes of her audience to do the same. As she pierces through the camera lens with an honest stare, Humberstone drapes a car in gasoline, only breaking eye contact for a brief moment to throw the lighter in the car, setting it on fire and walking away.
Humberstone's EP features both tender ballads like "Deep End" and more upbeat, buoyant tunes like "Overkill." Songs like "Vanilla" and the title track, "Falling Asleep At The Wheel," encompass both the lyrics of a ballad and the beat of a bop, giving listeners the best of both worlds.
Through Falling Asleep At The Wheel, Humberstone brings us a vulnerability both delicate and empowering, reminding us of its inherent duality.
Listen to Falling Asleep At the Wheel below: