You go running, take your time
We’re gonna feel it out
There’s a common formula to writing a radio bait breakup song. Think along the lines of Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. You’ve got an intense, energetic beat, a few lyrical examples of what went wrong in the relationship and a chorus relatable to the majority of listeners. It’s easy to sell the breakup anthem. It’s a part of life that most everyone has, or will experience.
Loren North is a newcomer to the pop scene, and she’s changing the dynamic of your stereotypical heartbreak playlist. The 21-year-old American artist broke into the business with the release of her single “feel it out,” an impressive track dedicated to hope and temporary emptiness.
Yeah we on the rocks
Maybe we thought we could get it working
We gave it a shot
It’s kinda rough but we both done hurting
Listen: “feel it out” – Loren North
“feel it out” has a variety of strengths. The tone of North’s voice is the first thing to draw attention. At first play, it’s a bit shocking. The raspy, smoky tone of North’s voice would be assumed to hold a weaker volume level, but meets listeners with an unlikely power. North’s vocal stamina is substantial and her pronunciation is well articulated, with limited slurs for aesthetic. Comparable to artists like Birdy, North holds her own with a well-trained set of vocal chords that seem capable of holding strong through any challenging tune.
“feel it out” is produced with extreme creativity while conscious of volume level and competing sounds. The track is held by a base level of synthetic instruments, adding just enough complexity behind North’s heavy voice to carry the track with ease. It’s lined by a repeated track of crickets chirping, combined with quick drums and vocal accents. The collection of sounds make for an intriguing combination, yet allow North to dominate vocal riffs without making the song sound like a mess of mismatched noises. “feel it out” is a well-constructed track that makes sure not to take the spotlight off of North and her rising talent.
You’re here and gone
I’m gone and here
We make a spark
But we disappeared
The real attraction, though, is in North’s lyrics. “feel it out” is, in essence, everything your best friend would tell you not to think during a breakup. Rather than focusing on anger and heartbreak, the song holds on to a glimmer of hope that in the end, it will all work out.
Lyrics like “It’s gonna work, give me a shout when you figure yourself out,” embrace the raw hope that comes at the end of may breakups. It’s this tone, carried throughout, that gives North an edge up on her competition. Instead of writing cliché upon cliché through an angst-filled rant, North writes exactly what she’s feeling. This isn’t your new break-up anthem. It actually may encourage singles to keep hoping for reconciliation, which, while it might not be healthy, is respectably raw and honest.
We’re gone to be found
I think about you from time to time
It’s gonna work
Give me a shout when you figure yourself out
“feel it out” has given listeners an outlet for a side of heartbreak not always explored. It’s the story of a woman who knows space is needed in the relationship, but doesn’t truly believe the breakup is for the best in the long run.
“Where I Am,” another single off of her upcoming EP Starlight, showcases North’s songwriting talent just as well. With two well-written, unapologetically relatable singles under her belt, it can be expected that North will, in time, climb her way into the general public’s eye.
Listen: “Where I Am” – Loren North
What makes North so special is the way she lies between the lines of what has been defined in pop music thus far. Pop music has been mid-transition for the past year. We’ve seen artists like Beyoncé embrace a heavy, seductive sound, and watched artists dripping with darkness, like The Weeknd, skyrocket to the top of the charts. While North holds a bit of child-like innocence, she’ll slip right into the market. “feel it out,” while a pop hit for sure, embraces a darkness clean of any trace of oversold ambiance. It has a heavy edge designed only to embrace North’s creative vision, not to abide by dark-pop radio trends. North embodies an unlikely, almost unidentifiable gloom, among artists like Halsey, in a time period increasingly embracing depressive honesty in music. It’s not in North’s lyrics, but in the overall tone of her voice and production that will allow her to slide into the ever-evolving genre.
Still, while allowing itself to fall heavy in moments of emotion, “feel it out” is a song listeners will listen to in the car with the windows rolled down. It’s an empowering tune with a balanced amount of light and dark. It’s unlike others of its kind in how it dances delicately on the line of definition, and it refuses to be just one thing. It’s an odd sense of beauty, and far from contradiction.
“feel it out” has proven just how much Loren North has to offer. From her strategically textured production to her seamless writing, she’s far ahead of any competition. She’s exactly what you hear on the radio, and simultaneously, what you feel every hit is missing. Bordering on indie and bubblegum pop, North is a chameleon. While versatile, she’s staying true to her own tone, stationed somewhere in between what we know and the future of pop music.
Keep an eye out for the release of Loren North’s debut EP Starlight, out 9/30/2016.
cover photo: screenshot from Loren North's "feel it out" music video
Watch: “feel it out” – Loren North