With an independent spirit and undeniable female energy, Lera Lynn’s ‘On My Own’ is a self-healing confessional record full of introspection and self-reflection.
Stream: ‘On My Own’ – Lera Lynn
Released in October, On My Own is a perfect sonic blend of Lera Lynn’s previous records. It has the darkness of Resistor with its heavy yet warm atmosphere and its poetic verses and choruses, but it also has the confessional element of The Avenues. It’s as though there is an invisible thread you can trace throughout Lynn’s discography, with all words and melodies leading to On My Own.
Lynn was born in Texas but raised in Georgia, where she studied Anthropology, and she has lived in Nashville for over a decade. Lynn has released seven albums and EPs independently, and has had a hand in co-writing the music for the second season of True Detective – where she also made an appearance as the mysterious shadowy bar singer.
In keeping with the album title, Lynn wrote, recorded, played and produced the entire album single-handedly in her home studio in Nashville prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. On My Own is ideal for those dark winter nights, allowing you to retreat a little bit inside yourself with its throbbing bass and moody ambience.
Thematically, the record has an undeniable female energy to it, but at times you feel a male presence here and there, as if standing in the shadowlands and looking on. Then there are moments where Lynn meets ghosts of people that are no longer in her life and chooses to forgive them. ‘A Light Comes Through’ is one of those moments where Lynn sings about remembering the good moments of a relationship that ended badly and deciding to forgive the other person.
If I saw you, I would say
“I’m ok, I made it through another day,
at least today,” then I’d say
“Let’s get a drink, something strong,
Let’s forget together what went wrong”
And we’d laugh about those better days
Before you turned…
– “A Light Comes Through,” Lera Lynn
I like to imagine that some of these songs act as a conduit to go back in time and address past experiences as a way to heal and to meet ghosts of lovers or family, in made up places, and forget about all that went wrong. We rarely get to say everything we wanted to on last encounters with people and sadly we cannot redo certain things with hindsight as our gift. But in music we can, which is what is so beautiful about it.
“Make You OK” is another song where Lynn returns to a place and person, and whether with age or experience, she begins to understand their failings and weaknesses as human frailties rather than believing them to be intentionally cruel. It is not an ode to romantic love but to a love much more complicated and unconditional. ‘Make You OK’ is a moment for me where I really wish could make the other person okay enough to be truly present in my life. It speaks to the power of music of being able to cut through all the noise, the hurt, the pain, and give us all a universal language in which to communicate and listen.
I remember you sometimes let come undone
I’d sing and you couldn’t help but let tears run
And it felt to me like heaven had opened the skies
A man so harsh and heavy letting love pour from his eyes
On My Own is very much a self-healing record, full of introspection and self-reflection. It is a record in which Lynn sounds like she has settled into herself even more. There is a comfortable knowingness of when to recognise you’re doing your best. ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ embodies this myriad of feelings so completely. It is languid with comforting lyrics amongst the chaos. “I don’t waste my time anymore/ Tryin’ to bait the line cause what for?/ Some days I do nothing at all/ Close up the blinds, smoke weed and screen all of my calls.”
“Let Me Tell You Something” is Lynn taking on the persona of her father. The male energy of knowing it all set against the female of not yet being able to say you know it all. It is the age-old story of being given advice you never asked for, let alone want. Lynn wryly sings, “I’ll tell you something kid, you’re certainly ambitious/ But if I was you I’d get a useful job in maybe business/ Cause what you feel don’t matter, everybody’s got something to say but/ Nobody’s got the time to listen to it anyway‘.”
On My Own was made very much prior to the pandemic but at times, and given the way Lynn made it, it feels as if the music, and perhaps Lynn herself, sensed what was over the horizon.
‘Isolation’ is one of the songs where you wonder what was in the air that day. It is Lynn’s take on this connected but mostly disconnected world that we all inhabit. With its sci-fi ambience and disjointed arrangement, the coldness of our disconnection seeps through the speakers and sits on your chest.
Dying to feel alive in electronic love
A sense of belonging orbiting above
A true human voice listened in the flesh
Old fashioned rendezvous, the new-age spirit quest
Isolation, romance the stone with
Information, pick up the phone
Can anybody hear me? Is there anyone there?
Lera Lynn feels the most settled and the most herself on this album. On My Own was born out of an experiment and trusting your instincts – a dangerous combination in Lynn’s case as the record is a powerful reminder of what women can do alone.
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? © Alysse Gafkjen
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