Our Take: Tara Terra Embrace Loss, Love, and Letting Go on ‘Where’s Your Light?’

Where's Your Light? - Tara Terra

Passion and pain collide and melt into a single, engulfing gust of energy on Tara Terra’s sophomore album Where’s Your Light? (independently released May 31st, 2017). Offering a hauntingly refreshing dose of driving rock/pop and intimate songwriting, this powerful new record from the Emily Blue-fronted indie quartet confirms what Atwood Magazine predicted months ago: That Tara Terra are destined for greatness.

Where's Your Light? - Tara Terra

Where’s Your Light? – Tara Terra

Opener “Feral Heart” makes an immediate and strong impression through accentuated melodies that rise and fall in mighty, pulsing waves. Frontwoman Emily Blue’s evocative vocal is central to Tara Terra’s dynamic sound; her talent is such that she could record purely a cappella, and it would undoubtedly mesmerize. Yet Tara Terra’s ability to distinguish themselves from their rock and pop-oriented peers comes from the collective’s ability to enhance each moment through a carefully procured, harmonically-rich cocktail of guitars, keys, and drums. When the groove hits hard on the anthemic rock tune “Feel Better,” we feel a crushing force in the pit of our stomachs. When background vocals echo the chorus’ chant on “Blood Sister,” tingles shoot down the spine; alternative music has not felt this honest in quite some time.

You are like the clothes on my back
Clinging to the sweat after I run
Ran so far, I don’t know if I’ll come back
Still, you’re riding on my shoulders
I could change this sweater, but…
I like the way it smells familiar
I could change it out for better things,
But I don’t know…
Tara Terra © 2017

Tara Terra © 2017

In premiering Tara Terra’s catchy lead single “Like the Clothes,” we noted the band’s proclivity toward lush harmonies “that brighten up the room, lifting our spirits ever higher despite the subject matter.” Nearly every song off Where’s Your Light includes a weighted stack of thirds and fifths at some point, a trademark that elevates the band’s ability to forge a lasting impact on the listener as Emily Blue waxes poetic over heartbreak, loss, and the changing tides of new beginnings.

Emotionally exhaustive and sonically thrilling, Tara Terra’s second album is a stirring thrill that is sure to take the Champaign, Illinois group on an adventure of a lifetime – and we cannot wait to trace their journey. You will be overwhelmed; you will feel sadness, hunger, and longing; yet above all else, this new music will hopefully leave all who enjoy it with a renewed sense of self – out of despair and hardship, we stride forward with confidence.

Listen to the full record now, and peek inside Where’s Your Light? with Atwood Magazine as Tara Terra provide their personal take on each of their album’s songs below!

:: stream/purchase Where’s Your Light? here ::

:: Inside Where’s Your Light? ::

Where's Your Light? - Tara Terra

— —

Feral Heart

“Feral Heart” started off as “Center Part”– you can actually find an old draft of that song on our Audiotree Live Session from way back. In the studio, I decided to completely revamp the lyrics. I took them somewhere completely away from the original concept, and fun fact, wrote the new lyrics in fifteen minutes. It’s also one of our grooviest, most musically collaborative songs and we’re super excited at how danceable it is!

Feel Better

I originally wrote this song about a relationship that I was getting out of. It was my way to say, hey, we’re not meant to be together, but I want you to go find yourself. I want you to enjoy life, and to feel better. It was my way to admit that maybe we needed move on.

Like the Clothes

Like The Clothes started as a draft that I wanted to throw away, but Colin was adamant on making it happen, and it became much better than the initial idea. I still listen to old recordings and am amazed at how it developed from a strummy folk tune to a full on rock song. I wrote the lyrics when I was thinking about how I used to wear my partner’s clothes all the time, but that the relationship wasn’t feeling right. I thought about shedding those clothes for something new. It was, and still is, a super painful feeling for sure.

Blood Sister

Blood Sister got me out of a pretty toxic friendship dynamic. The song is about a person who sucks all your energy out, damages you, and still expects you to tend to them when they’re hurting. The main line is “heal your own blood sister, heed your own wounds,” and it’s sort of me saying, hey, I’m not going to be your crutch anymore.

Write My Name

Fun fact: I originally started writing this one about Colin, actually. But then it turned into a more abstract idea about the people who are close to your heart and go a different direction, or maybe even about those who pass away. At the end of the song, I imagine the character in the song passing away with the line “as your pulse slows” — and I get very choked up. In the studio recording this, I was very emotional, and you can hear that in the recording.

Trade Winds

Trade Winds is one of the more “concept record” songs. A lot of these songs have to do with a fictional family that goes on vacation and loses their young daughter to the ocean waves, which I think may be some metaphorical way to work out my own anxieties about life, death, what have you. Trade Winds is actually the name of a resort I stayed in multiple times with my own family, and this song focuses on the mother character lamenting the things she should have done to prevent such a disaster. It’s pretty dreamy, beachy, and musically really involved on all our parts.

Overnight

Overnight is a comfort song. It’s a song that says, hey, it’s okay not to be okay when “everything changes overnight.” Similar to Trade Winds, it surrounds that story I came up with in my head. I guess the lyrics just remind us that when trauma or disaster happens we have to deal with it gradually. It’s okay to depend on our loved ones for support.

In Between

This song surrounds the characters in the story, let’s call it the Trade Winds narrative, going through the different stages of grief surrounding losing a loved one. It’s one of my favorites on the record.

Lorelai

Lorelei is the daughter’s name in Trade Winds. In this song, the speaker is visiting her grave and making her a garland out of flowers: “there is a place where your name sits, and the flowers bloom from your gentle limbs.” I wrote that because I loved the image of something beautiful growing from something sad. It’s sort of a hopeful thought, that there can be happy moments even after a tragedy.

I Need to Know Why

The last song on the record, the most epic, and the strangest in terms of time signature. It was a beast to put together as a band for sure. This song expresses the confusion and hurt when people leave us in this life, something I think about a lot.

— —

:: stream/purchase Where’s Your Light? here ::

— — — —

Where's Your Light? - Tara Terra

Connect to Tara Terra on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
cover art © Anna Renken

Premiere: The Bittersweet Beauty of Tara Terra's “Like the Clothes”

by Mitch Mosk

Album Premiere: Emily Blue Is More Than 'Another Angry Woman'

Debut Album

Premiere: Finding Strength in Emily Blue's “No Pain”

lead single

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York’s many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch’s words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing.
Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com