Petal’s Kiley Lotz uses minimalism to show her range and depth as a songwriter on “Something from Me.”
With everything that Kiley Lotz does, she leaves blood on the page, stage, or record. Magic Gone, her second LP as Petal (released 6/15/2018 via Run for Cover Records), is an immense improvement over 2015’s Shame. While Shame is an excellent introduction to Scranton’s Petal, Lotz seems to have torn down any creative barriers she may’ve had on Magic Gone. She delivers thoughtful, enriched balladry with a taste of power pop throughout the LP. The whole album holds an emotional weight with incredible tension and release. While each song deserves its due praise, “Something From Me” is a standout ballad serving as the penultimate song on the album. It’s an imagist poem delivered by an incredible singer-songwriter.
Listen: “Something from Me” – Petal
Not to discount so many of the excellent musicians in the punk and emo scene that Lotz belongs to, but she can really play and sing. “Something from Me” is a writer’s dream display of range in simplicity. With a degree in theater, it’s unsurprising that Lotz has a powerful voice and can express exactly what she wants to with the bare minimum instrumentation of just a piano. It sounds like she recorded it just sitting at a grand piano in the studio. When Lotz belts, she sounds like the words are pouring out of her being when she does it. She can also go into soft high notes incredibly quickly. The vastness of her vocal range perfectly executes how it feels when you go through an anxious time. Sometimes, you need to scream into nothing, but then sometimes, you’re afraid or unsure, and your voice is soft and high.
In the verses, Lotz is cold, heartbroken, and venomous to the subject of the song. The simplicity of the song brings the different images to life: “the moment you don’t look me in the eye”, “Silence after washing the dishes”, or “the way that you slick your hair back and run your fucking mouth.” Some of these are chillingly clinical observations and others feel like they’ve been stabbed beneath your toenails for ages. There are hints of abuse and uncertainty for the future, but the second verse culminates:
It’s the way you make me love you
when all the signs tell me to run away.
The knowledge that everything may be wrong but the paralysis of your current situation is enough to stir the emotional song.
The song mainly tackles a sense of distrust, and the burden of being an artist. In the chorus Lotz declares, “You all want something from me.” When you create anything that people love, it can be exhausting and nervewracking; Lotz precedes those lines with things she can’t do anymore. This also all seems to stem from a sense of distrust. The song ends with the lines
I see you when the door is closed.
I know your mouths are moving.
These lines are all prefaced by noting discomfort in an ambiguous “you.” It’s unclear who Lotz is addressing. Is it an ex? A friend? A roommate? All of them? And those closing lines give into that anxiety. It doesn’t matter who she’s singing to. She sees all of her fears, anxiety, and anger reflected, and she acknowledges it. The first part of solving any problem is recognizing there is one, and Kiley Lotz takes a long moment to recognize it on “Something from Me.”
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📸 © Katie Krulock