Arum Rae’s “Loners” can either be your traditional, melancholic love song, a song about loving yourself after leaving a relationship, or both. It is up for the listener to decide. But what’s unquestionable about it is the beauty in its simplicity – a guitar riff is repeated throughout the song, providing support for Arum Rae’s amazing vocals and raw emotion. There are no distractions from the message she is trying to send across, no sudden bass drop or rhythm change, and that’s what makes the song even more precious.
Watch: “Loners” – Arum Rae
Arum Rae’s lyric video for “Loners,” which Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering today, has a karaoke-like and vintage aspect that will awaken the nostalgic in anyone. She pines for her former lover while you are reminded of the “good old days,” where your television screen was not high definition, you had to endure through black and white moments of static noise, and karaoke was a must instead of a rarity. In “Loners,” off her 2016 Loners EP, Rae achieves a striking balance between melancholy and joy – while her lyrics do reflect moments of pain and a feeling of being incomplete, the melody serves as a comforting and quite peaceful accompaniment. She is not asking for your, or her former lover’s, pity, but instead is baring her heart to anyone who will listen and, as is evidenced through the video, discovering how to love herself simultaneously.
In the moment
You had me
But I never had you
I could hold you
We won’t commit
That way there’s nothing to lose
Rae narrates the story of her previous relationship, where she was more emotionally involved than her lover, and out of fear of losing each other or getting hurt never committed to something more serious. The lyrics Rae chooses to highlight on the karaoke portion of the video – “moment”, “had me”, “had you”, and “nothing to lose” – isolated from the rest of the verse can tell the story of two people in a happy and strong relationship, and the words juxtaposed with the images of Rae holding her own hand and hugging herself signal that she is now on a mission to love herself.
Call me an opportunist
I won’t tell you what my next move is
Or the door that I’ll be leaving through
On the next verse, she talks about the games that usually played in relationships when people are too scared to give in and be vulnerable and honest about their feelings. The line “Won’t tell you what my next move is” shows us that Rae was constantly left on unstable ground in that relationship, either always wondering where her partner stood in terms of the relationship, or misleading her partner as to what her true feelings were. At this point in the video, we see Arum Rae’s face for the first time, her eyes taking up the majority of the shot, which goes to show the vulnerability she is expressing in this verse. The word “leaving”, only one written on this part of the video, is shown along with Rae closing her eyes and looking like she is taking a deep breath, evidencing her pain and emotion.
Because that’s what loners do
That’s what loners do
What loners do
The chorus shows Rae playing around with her hair, an affectionate gesture that is associated with romance when done by your loved one, reminding us again that she is now with and by herself. The lyrics “that’s what loners do” is shown onscreen more often than other lyrics throughout the video, and seeing them alongside the visuals can lead you to one of two interpretations: she is either toying around with her hair by herself because “that’s what loners do” since they have no one else to do it for them, or being a loner means that she suffices and feels complete in her own company, and her moment with her hair only proves that she needs no one else, especially no lover, to do it for her.
As for night life
Its just dead time
That keeps me occupied
And my freedom
What is a river without its riverside
Next, Rae channels the loneliness she feels now that she is alone. She’s unable to be productive and finds no interest in night life – and the so-called “freedom” people claim to repossess after they end a relationship? She rejects this notion, claiming to be incomplete, “a river without its riverside”. The river lyric is especially relevant because it is the first time where we see her actually sing onscreen. She sings onscreen again on the second line of the next verse:
I’m calling myself the exception
‘Cept when I’m lying here I’m missing you
Which goes to show that on these moments, where she openly admits to what she’s feeling at the right now, we get to see the real Arum Rae: no fragments of her face or her hands, her back turned to the camera while she stares out the window, we are shown her full face while she is saying those words. This is Rae at her most vulnerable point, but at her most honest one, too.
On my own
I’m finding myself the exit
Finding myself the exit
Arum Rae’s vocals are beautifully showcased on the ad lib before and during the lyric “on my own” – the emotion she showed when she sang onscreen has now transpired onto her voice, and it is heartbreaking as it is wonderful. The end of the song has Rae repeating “Finding myself the exit”, over some footage which reminds you of a broken CD/VHS that was stuck on the same scene for some time. She is stuck in this repetitive process too, but manages to break free and finds her “exit”, coincidentally the only word shown onscreen, and the last we see of her are her lips – the ones that before transmitted her pain now break into a shy smile. And along with the static that gradually takes over the screen and covers her lips, her voice fades away, but the memory of the song remains.
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:: “Loners” – Arum Rae ::
cover: Arum Rae © 2017