Today’s Song: Humm Embrace the Clarity of Solitude Within “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love)”

Humm © Kate Feast
Humm © Kate Feast
It takes two to tango — but Bath-based duo Humm demonstrate that they’re happy to dance while no one is watching in their radiant track, “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in Love).” Two might be company, but honestly? One is just enough.
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Stream: “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love)” – Humm

I sit down to write this article with a copy of Bell Hooks’ text, All About Love: New Visions, lying on my desk beside me; its spine cracked open to dog-eared pages abundant with scrawled annotations made in smudged black ink. Reading the book is practically a rite of passage for those who find themselves befuddled by that heavy-weighted L-word. I, like many who have whisked through the novel’s pages before me, am desperate to know love and understand it.

I would like to be able to laugh in the face of love; to knowingly smirk as I say, “You can fool me no longer, I have you figured out” — adding a playful wink on the tail end for cheeky emphasis.

But I’ll be the first to admit that this is a foolish ambition at best — how can anyone expect to master something as enigmatic and ever-changing as love? Let alone a 20-something-year-old such as myself. It’s a pipe dream and simply nothing more!

By now you might be thinking — Sophie, this is Atwood Magazine, aren’t you supposed to be writing about a song instead of waxing about your own mission to comprehend the very idea of love itself?

Yup. Guilty.

I’m finished burying the lede. I do, however, pinky-promise that all of this build up did indeed serve a noble purpose. And now, I present you with Humm’s (AKA, Arty Jackson and Carys Lewin) new track, “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love),” released today (Oct. 20).

Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love) - Humm
Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love) – Humm
i have to go the walls and floors are talking
telling me what i already knew
and now i know to listen

We humans long to get to know another soul so completely; to know exactly what to say or do to make them crack a toothy grin, to predict the sentences that come out of their mouth before they voice them, to become accustomed to the cadence of their footsteps as they approach — essentially, to know someone even better than we know ourselves.

Contrasting with all of this lovey-dovey rhetoric, “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love)” aims to separate the self from a partner. Humm put a magnifying glass on the behaviors we exhibit when we embrace our own solitude, not relying on companionship for a sense of escape from the ever-present cacophony of our thoughts. Within the track’s three-and-a-half-minute run time, Humm provides a soft acoustic cushion for listeners to comfortably sit with themselves in reflection.

Bell Hooks — yes, I’m tying her back in — writes in All About Love: New Visions, “Many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”

something here‘s not right
and there’s no need to put me down
’cause there’s nothing that can snuff out this great fire
and so i danced alone
and started to make sense
of who i am when i’m in love…
Humm © 2023
Humm © Kate Feast

We have become accustomed to using love as a scapegoat; the concept has morphed into a silly excuse to avoid the emotions that bubble to the surface when we are alone. We ask ourselves: Why enjoy our own company when being in someone else’s is much more pleasurable?

We willingly play a game of mad libs, where our partners fill in the blanks with our supposed interests while we, blind to the context, unwittingly laugh and go along with the result. Though, post-relationship, we often find ourselves scratching our heads, thinking about the interests we co-opted from them: What? Was I really obsessed with Nascar racing and competitive pickleball leagues? Wow. Okay!

Notably, not all relationships are of this autonomy-stripping nature, but in this scenario, Humm posits love as something that takes more than it gives. Despite that, the track is not anti-love. It just focuses on a different kind: self-love — hold on, don’t roll your eyes just yet.

in to every life we must heed a little rainfall
but i’ve lost myself in love and war
i think it’s time to call it
the truth in my wise bones has taught me

It’s no surprise that in modern-day society, self-love has been placed on a pedestal — and a seemingly unreachable one at that. We preach so much about how loving oneself is the pinnacle of self-actualization, the true and infallible key to happiness. And yet, we note that and proceed to make no effort in putting the concept into practice. Big whoop. So many of us fall guilty to saying, “Yeah! I definitely 100% love myself!” to others, who aren’t aware that our fingers are tightly crossed behind our backs.

Humm © 2023
Humm © Kate Feast

In writing “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love),” Jackson and Lewin divert their attention inward, noting the ways they have stopped caring for themselves whilst caring so deeply for another. Without scolding themselves or saying “I should have known better,” the two reflect on the neglect they showed the part of their soul that wanted so badly to be loved.

Jackson and Lewin assert: “[The track] is a love letter to the newly lonely, exploring the difficulties of losing yourself within a relationship and finding yourself in the aftermath. This song is a reminder for you to love and appreciate yourself and the beautiful world around you.”

Lewin voices a gentle wake-up call over glowy guitar strums, singing: “In every life we must heed a little rainfall / But I’ve lost myself in love and war / I think it’s time to call it / The truth in my wise bones has taught me.”

white flags raised
but that’s ok it was worth it
nothing should be stamping out my fire
so i danced alone
and started to make sense
of who i am when i’m in love

In a society where love is considered to be the end-all-be-all, it can be difficult to trust our nagging instincts and call it quits. But at times we fail to remember that we aren’t actually quitting anything — in some cases we’re simply starting anew, committing to ourselves once again.

White flags raised / But that’s ok it was worth it,” Lewin sings, “Nothing should be stamping out my fire / So I danced alone and started to make sense of who I am when I’m in love.”

Let it be known that it is not Humm’s intention to imply that staying single is the best alternative — they recognize that virtually everyone wishes to love and be loved within this lifetime. It’s just that loving someone else comes a tiny bit easier when we section off some time toward loving and respecting ourselves first.

Humm © 2023
Humm © Kate Feast

You might not want to take advice from me, someone who has only really loved another in this way once.

But trust me, I am as much in this journey of self-love and appreciation as anyone else. I might not know all too much, but I do know that we are all deserving of love, from both others and ourselves. We deserve to be able to feel truly proud of who we are; to recognize that though we are imperfect beings with quirked up odds and ends, those characteristics don’t negate our ability to love and be loved.

i got up late the sun she waits for no one
i left my coat just to feel the rain
shoes and socks off i feel no pain
you will always catch me dancing for myself

Through the musical vessel of Humm, Jackson and Lewin find themselves teeming with compassion for those who have found themselves thoroughly enmeshed within another’s essence; extending a steady hand to help them out of whatever rut they might be lost in.

One could say that with Humm’s “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love),” self-love is just one dance away.

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:: stream/purchase Danced Alone here ::
:: connect with Humm here ::
Stream: “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love)” – Humm

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Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love) - Humm

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? © Kate Feast

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