Breathless, stirring, and powerfully emotional, Lucy Clearwater’s debut EP ‘Feel Again’ provides a respite for all those seeking human connection in a shuttered world.
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It’s funny what we end up remembering and what we don’t. The strangest things moor us in a moment that linger long after the details melt away.
Stream: ‘Feel Again’ – Lucy Clearwater
At the time, this Monday night blended into the rest. I was already running on zero sleep from a weekend packed with work and shows, and it wasn’t over yet. Two more nights loomed over me before I’d finally get to draw the blackout curtains and sink into an unburdened sleep.
Hollywood’s rooftop Bardot club felt surprisingly subdued for its weekly School Night concert series, yet the air sparked with a restless electricity. Something was about to happen that none of us could anticipate. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this would be the last show I’d ever see.
I collapsed on one of the sofas that lined the front row as a lone singer took the stage. Armed with an acoustic guitar, she drew all the energy in the room towards her, channeling our collective anxiety into something of somber beauty. Maybe in the back of my mind, I knew something special was happening. The world was about to change, but for a moment, that didn’t matter. Here in this space, we could share our humanity one last time.
On its own, the music of Lucy Clearwater is both arresting and personal. She transports her listeners on a stream of emotion buoyed by minimal instrumentation and haunting vocal harmonies. In that room, with a global pandemic breathing down our necks, it was a requiem to the world we knew it.
With every end though, comes a beginning. From death arises life – new, unexpected, and beautiful. Even when the lights go out, we know we’ll eventually feel again.
The debut EP by Lucy Clearwater finds itself in a peculiar position. Her brand of classically-tinged folk music highlights the limbo we find ourselves in between love and loss, hope and despair, hitting bottom and finding the strength to crawl back out again. Now the world itself straddles a before and an after. We live in a quarantine-fueled limbo, trapped in place with nowhere to direct our emotions but inward. The stasis often threatens to tear us apart with its abject indifference. Yet Lucy has seemingly crafted the perfect outlet for the homebound. Our quarantine lives have us rooted in place, but our yearning for connection rages unchecked.
Through Feel Again, she pens a script of what waits on the other side of “uncertain times.” It isn’t our mutual suffering that binds us. It’s desire for love, for connection, to be touched on an intimate level. Diving into the most empathic region of our minds guides us through the storm. In that respect, what the 22-year-old songbird has gifted us in her first EP is none other than a timely masterpiece.
Sitting on that couch among a few hundred strangers, I sank headlong into the storytelling that would soon emerge on Feel Again. From someone so young, these songs spoke to a myriad lives lived, like a Dylan or a Mitchell arising from wizened eons to speak perfect truth about a specific moment in time. I’ve seen countless artists take that stage from COIN to Joywave to Bebe Rexha, but seldom has it birthed such a flashbulb memory, something that would follow me long into the chaos that followed.
For being such complex and multitudinous creatures, we humans tend to want the same things. We want to be seen, to be held, to feel. In six episodes, Lucy bottles those primal desires through the lens of her own experience. Title track “Feel Again” kicks things off with a “prayer” for real connection and emotion with a partner. Its thesis statement lays a foundation for an overarching, cohesive statement on the human condition. She follows that with “Say the Word,” a classic boy meets girl story that addresses the fears left out of the typical rom-com plot line.
You, you say it won’t work
That you’re not sure how it could
True, we had a rough start
Teasing our hearts but it tasted so good
Though we constantly reach for that human connection, it isn’t as easy as 1+1. Hesitations and fears keep us from reaching one another, or cause friction when we eventually do. The magic of saying yes comes when we acknowledge that it might not work, and go all-in anyway.
But hardly does happily ever after follow that yes. When the credits roll is when the work begins. “Restless” and “Distracted” pit the yin and yang of relationship bliss against the consuming anxiety of having someone on your mind after they’re gone.
Ultimately, the relationships that work are the ones that make us feel better about ourselves despite the challenges. With the gorgeously understated “Insecurities,” a standout from the EP, Lucy chronicles how unconditional love can make you see yourself in a new light. That think you found lacking about yourself can spark a new appreciation. The greatest loves of our lives inspire self-love.
Finally, “I Choose Love” wraps Feel Again’s whirlwind of emotion up with a tidy bow. When we choose love and commitment, it’s not because the passion drives us, but because we recognize its value despite the hardship. Love is work, but it’s worth it for the right person.
Feel Again offers no easy answers. In a time that can generously be described as “unprecedented” it’s perhaps harder than ever to touch one another – physically and emotionally. Lucy Clearwater’s debut avoids the simple platitudes to remind us that love is worth working for despite the overwhelming distance.
I often find myself going back to that night, soaking in these songs from the front row couch. Standing on the precipice of unprecedented change, it can often feel like a dark and lonely journey. But for that moment I wasn’t alone. For as much as we’re told that “we’re in this together,” that was when I felt it, truly and deeply. Feel Again serves as a reminder that through all the insanity, our need for each other carries on.
Stream: Feel Again – Lucy Clearwater
:: Inside Feel Again ::
“‘Feel Again’ was written after a meaningless hookup where I felt a desire for something deeper. As a young adult in LA, I was definitely influenced by our modern “hookup culture” to be satisfied with meaningless physical relationships but I began to feel empty and realized that as humans, one of our primary needs is true connection, care and affection. The song was written in the moment when I realized I wanted more. Literally a few weeks later, I met the guy who was the answer to that prayer.”
“Say the Word“
“On a cold morning at a cabin near Lake Tahoe, I wrote Say The Word. The guy I was in love with and I had just FaceTimed from LA. He had said he couldn’t see us working out because of differences in worldview. But, my feelings were too strong I couldn’t just give up without a fight so I wrote this song, laying it all on the table, putting my heart on my sleeve; “if you want we could try, darlin’ I’m all in, just say the word”.”
“Know that awkward/heart-wrenching moment when you run into the love of your life after having JUST broken up? Well, that’s exactly what ‘Distracted’ song is about. Ugh, I know! The lyrics tell a direct account of a night I went out to a concert in Hollywood, right after we ended things and I saw on Insta that he was at THE SAME SHOW. The whole time, I was so “distracted” scanning the room that I didn’t even hear the band that was playing.”
“Honeymoon phase for dayz. Girl meets boy, cute duet vibes. That unquenchable feeling of excitement and thrill you get from thinking about that special person you can’t get out of your head. In the first line of the song, I talk about thoughts of this guy, as though they’re this greedy entity stealing my sleep, and how I wouldn’t have it any other way. After a hooky chorus, Jacob Jeffries takes it away with the boy verse in his sweet, quirky voice. This song builds like crazy and by the end it’s like a giant party with a “shouting for joy” feeling at the end! All in all, it’s a FEEL GOOD, HAPPY LOVE SONG!”
“Have you ever wished your boobs looked different? Your stomach more flat? Your skin softer? The list could go on forever…but you get the point. We all have insecurities. This song is about when somebody loves that thing about you that you don’t like, and how that can make you see yourself and your “imperfections” through a new lens and maybe even fall deeper in love with those parts of you. SELF LOVE! Sometimes it just takes looking through a new perspective to find it. We are all unique and beautiful. Vulnerability is key. Crying is gorgeous. Everybody has “broken parts”, but a heart is a heart no matter what it’s dressed in.”
“I Choose You“
“A song about long term commitment written by 16 year old me. Who knows, maybe I didn’t even know what I was writing about at the time, but here we are 5 years later, and this song now means so much to me. The final song of the Feel Again Ep, “I Choose You” sums up that sometimes passionate love and romanticized ideas are not the most important thing when it comes to commitment. Commitment is a choice one must make every single day in order to stay in it with another human. It’s a love song. It states that no matter what craziness is going on all around, I still choose you. It’s a song about dedication.”
Watch: “Feel Again” – Lucy Clearwater
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? © Nicholas Popkey
:: Lucy Clearwater ::