I Am Kyrøs EP – Lia Menaker
Lia is a magnificent singer, songwriter and producer from the land of Philadelphia where it is always sunny or so I have been told. Her live streams include a mix of originals and covers as well as brilliant loops and a masterful use of different effects. She has also been doing themed streams lately which have been most enjoyable to attend. She fosters a very calm a relaxed environment that I find to be a magnificent way to de-stress after a long week.
The sound of her most recent EP is very exploratory and at times almost seems mystical. It really transcends musical genres. Listening to this album was a rather existential experience for me. It had me thinking about my life and specifically this past few years of it which has been full of examining my inner self and figuring out first-hand what it truly means to be me. I cannot say I know a whole lot more what that means than I did years ago when I began doing this but I will share briefly some things I have learned along the way. During my initial listen I felt these tracks emanated a very metaphysical and reflective tone. The Latin word introspicere essentially means to look inward; this is where the word introspection is derived. Looking inward is certainly what these tracks had me doing as I listened. This is something I have been doing for a while now its as if turning thirty was an impetus for much more frequent self-reflection. I have thought about what it really means to be me; if ever asked to describe myself and my motivations what would I actually say?
What are the things which make me feel significant and more often insignificant. It is a journey to iron out your sense of identity and it is most assuredly feels like an uphill slope which I am still traversing. The lyric “I am stranger in my own skin…” really struck an emotional chord. There has been many times on my current introspective journey where I would have used that line to describe my current feelings. All My Life also hit like a brick wall speaking of self-doubt and struggling to seize the opportunities that life threw my way; people are always telling you to live up to your potential. It was during this song I started thinking about the word kyrøs or kairos one of two Greek words for time; denoting a most precise or opportune moment for action (It was at this point I was glad all my studies of Greek and Latin were paying off 😊). During my life I have seized the day many times but have let just as many opportunities slip by. I have learned from these experiences either way and don’t look back on anything that I have done with regret. This is not because I haven’t made any colossal mistakes or due to the clichéd answer of “they have made me who I am today” but rather I have come to realize that nothing positive comes from regret and I don’t have time for the negative anymore. I am closing in on thirty three and in these past three years my perspective on many things has changed drastically and I am sure I will my introspective pilgrimage will continue to grant me new knowledge and perspectives. I talked much more about myself than the album itself but this is the place the music took me to and I decided to go with it.
All the Words I Thought I’d Say EP – Melissa Lamm
Given the deeply emotional themes of both tracks I postulated that the rest of the EP would continue this theme. I would be lying if I said it was anything like what I expected it was far better. What really amazes me about Melissa’s music is her ability to craft tracks that both make you want to dance and cry simultaneously. If you really dig deep below the surface of each song you will unearth her thoughts on some vulnerable subjects.
As you listen to “Got My Heart” it appears to be nothing more than a very upbeat and well produced pop song. However as I have listened to it I and thought perhaps too intensely about what it could mean I get something else from it. It speaks of totally and completely loving someone. It can be easy to think about the more storybook aspects of this (thanks Disney) but opening yourself completely to someone and giving them your heart may perhaps be the thing in life which makes you the most vulnerable. To trust someone that much is daunting, and can fill you with trepidation. At least for me no matter how well you know someone there is always that little voice inside your head making you question whether or not doing this is a good idea. As they say the greater the risk the greater the reward and also the greater potential for heartbreak. Okay I may have added that last part; I am a hopeless romantic that experiences bouts of cynicism. If you want to check out my thoughts on “No Thrills” I wrote a post solely about it here. It has become my anxiety anthem and is a brilliantly crafted track.
“Banners” for me has some connection to “Got My Heart” speaking of how love and having someone in your life that you have opened yourself up to and them doing the same thing really creates a foundation for your life. Other things seem to not matter at all or at least to matter much less. There was one section in particular I really enjoyed which states “If we’re naïve at we think we’re sure of something, I’m not worried up late losing sleep at night. We drew our lines and met up right around the middle, I’ll be okay long as you’re here by my side. And I wouldn’t have it any other way…” That is the dream to be with someone that makes you feel at peace. Having two people who are willing to compromise and put forth the effort required to make a relationship work. “If I don’t know a thing about love I know I know about us, all the rest we’ll figure out.” What powerful simplicity I think it is remarkable to be able to convey such meaning in this way and this is something present in all of the tracks. I also really enjoyed the progression of the song it has incredible build up and is really enjoyable to listen to aside from its powerful message.
The next track had a similar effect on me as “No Thrills” because of my own experiences with anxiety and related issues. “Tricks on Me” which speaks of your mind playing tricks on you to put it simply. Sometimes I will be experiencing so much stress and anxiety I will go for a run to try and relax, I will completely zone out and then sort of snap back into reality thirty minutes or more later and have no idea where I am or how I got there. It is an unsettling experience to have no accounting for time in this way. One part of the track really summarized what I face perfectly. “I’m all good I’m looking up, but baby if I’m honest you know I’ve been taking stock of every perfect little win and every close near loss I meet. And word moves fast around all the worst stuff, and once my wheels are turning it’s just hard to turn them off…”I heard that and thought yep that’s exactly it. I will still be thinking processing things in my head but at the same time not be paying attention to what is actually going on.
“Sober” is possibly a shout out to all who have experienced a particular painful breakup but I cannot say for sure. A possible meaning for the word sober is being marked by an earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor. The time after a breakup is surely full of lots of questions; did you do the right thing? Are you sure that things wouldn’t have worked? For a time many things will remind of this person and what you shared. To say that a myriad of mixed emotions are experienced is an understatement. After listening to the song more and more I began to doubt my initial thoughts thinking that perhaps this was the cynic in me talking once again. As I listened to the words “I promise I’m not looking for you, but here you are and all the words I thought I’d say…and one good look in your two eyes, I’m on the floor I thought that door was shut I guess it’s all that it takes…” I started to think perhaps I was completely mistaken. Then comes the line “I know I swore, don’t need no more, are these feelings taking over me? I think I love you too much, I think I miss you too much…” These things could be either good or bad depending on perspective. I may not have the emotional maturity to grasp where this song is going. What I do know is love is complicated and people experience it vastly differently. Regardless of my thoughts it is clear that this is a track that leaves a tangible emotional impression and is immensely powerful.