Today’s Song: Lindsay Munroe Is Finding Answers and Acceptance in the Depth of the “River”

Lindsay Munroe © Billy Holmes
Manchester-based artist Lindsay Munroe’s new single “River” is a journey of heartbreak, pain, and finding acceptance with it.
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Listen: “River” – Lindsay Munroe

When you type the word “river” into the search function at a streaming service of your choice, you will be overloaded with results. The river, a metaphor used by various artists, is expressing the calm which humans sometimes need in times of pain and heartbreak. The river, as a total antithesis to troubling emotions, is also the name of alternative indie artist Lindsay Munroe’s new song.

Our Heaviness – Lindsay Munroe

River” is a song about heartbreak, broken trust, and the art of finding comfort in the discomfort. The track “River” is the third single from her new EP, Our Heaviness. Her former single “Split” gained a lot of praise and support, even from her inspiration and idol Sharon Van Etten. Whilst “Split” is exploring a general discomfort reminiscing of early PJ Harvey works, “River” is experimenting with celestial textures whilst exploring various emotions over the course of four and a half minutes.

The song starts off with a fifteen-second intro of melancholic guitar chords before Munroe’s voice sets in. With an opening line of “I was sitting in the water; I was waiting for the wait,” she is using the water as a mysterious metaphor for something painful. It seems to be that kind of unbearable pain, the one that hurts so badly that we try to hide it from others.

It hurts more than anything, but whatever you do it seems to stay. You wait for it to pass, but it won’t. According to Munroe herself, the song is about a short breakup from a long-term relationship – that even though the two lovers eventually found their way back together, it caused major trust issues. Every verse explores a different emotion that she went through whilst trying to find a way to deal with the pain and the trauma that the breakup caused to her.

I was waiting for you to show me,
that you weren’t gonna stay

As she continues singing, it’s clear the time apart caused a deep crack in the relationship, which leaves the everlasting anxiety of losing the other person one more time, but this time knowing how unbearable that pain will feel like. The cut is deep, but she tries everything to hide her feelings: “I was hiding from the pain, I was trying not to show you that it always feels the same.” Even though everything should feel like before, it doesn’t.

Lindsay Munroe © Billy Holmes

Hiding and ignoring those feelings does not make the situation better, which she shows in the chorus.

She knows the way to go,
She knows the way to go,
The river has the answer

All her questions and feelings seem to find an answer in the river. The river a symbol for calmness and the fact that some things, such as feelings, are uncontrollable, no matter how hard we try to control them. In the second verse, Munroe’s emotions shift from hiding what she feels to be a forced acceptance, still without showing what she truly feels to anyone. This kind of forced acceptance is reminiscent of the way a child would accept something and hide their range inside them, purely because their fear of loss is holding them back.

I was trying to be a daughter
I was trying to behave
I was speaking in whisper
To try and hide my range


The trauma of the breakup experience is holding her back from letting out what she feels, so she tries out every possible technique to hide her painful emotions and anger. After the following chorus, repeating the theme of the river, an instrumental sets in, indicating the breakthrough of the song. Melodically, the song places the melancholic electric guitars in the back as Munroe’s voice is the focus here. To intensify the breakthrough, drums set in. As the melody gets more intense, so do the lyrics.

Lindsay Munroe © Billy Holmes

I am laying in the water,
stream above my head,
it is darker than I wanted
And it is colder than it said

The singer is describing the process of accepting her feelings. From “sitting in the water” to “lying in the water” and embracing what she is going through even though it might be harder than she expected it to be. By the end, she finds comfort and liberates herself by singing “and my breathing starts to fall.” Her breath flows just like the river, which is underlined with the chorus for one last time before the song fades away.

Lindsay Munroe is delivering a masterpiece by showing the raw and real emotions that someone goes through after a traumatic breakup experience. Listening to it feels like going through every stage of the pain by yourself, with every phase of your body, until your breaths fall together.

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Listen: “River” – Lindsay Munroe

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