Premiere: Lady Lazarus’ “I Recall July” Makes Us Ponder the One Who Got Away

Lady Lazarus © Nick Chao
Containing a gently played piano, a swirling synth and a haunting voice, Lady Lazarus’ “I Recall July” is a ghost drifting through your ear canal, a whisper that makes all your arm hairs stand up.
Stream: “I Recall July” – Lady Lazarus

We all have that one memory we return to on lonely days, when the rain is pouring and the only thing to do is play what-if. Some visit it as a form of torture while others as a form of glory-reliving—some do both depending on their mood. And, some artists are able to invite us into their special memory, to let us poke around their psyche and experience their joy and pain as though it’s our own.

I Recall July - Lady Lazarus

I Recall July – Lady Lazarus

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Lady Lazarus’ latest single, “I Recall July” from her upcoming record Impossible Journey Of My Soul Tonight, out October 18th, 2019. A sparse, raw dive into a beautiful moment, it transforms a uniquely personal matter into a universal exploration—even the instrumentation sounds like a cosmic trip through the hippocampus.

The third single off her fourth record, Lady Lazarus — the moniker for writer, painter and musician Melissa Ann Sweat — describes this song as her “‘Martha’ (Tom Waits’ classic song from Closing Time) in that it looks back on a relationship that has sadly ended, though it was actually very beautiful. And while you can’t be together with this person, you still have love for them and want to let them know.”

Containing a gently played piano, a swirling synth and the haunting voice of Sweat, “I Recall July” is a ghost drifting through your ear canal, a whisper that makes all your arm hairs stand up.

In all of this, the most imposing instrument could be the silence that lingers between every note, intrudes into every one of her thoughts. It’s addition by subtraction, and it’s only when the slow synth-horn solo hits you realize the emptiness’ soul-bearing purpose.

I recall July
when the sky had crashed
and the future turned
its back on the past.
Did you call my name?
Did you say it loud?
Parting from the crowd,
we were never the same.
Lady Lazarus © Nick Chao

Lady Lazarus © Nick Chao

Lady Lazarus’ voice is laden with reverb and regret, weighed down in the sonic mix as though lost in her own thoughts.

She sounds almost distracted, as though all the emotion of a distant July’s events prevent her from being present. The weight is carried in every word, her voice dropping into a lower register to emphasize her longing—before unleashing her higher range in a cathartic plea for love.

If I called you up,
would it be enough
to accept my love?

With the sparsity swirling through the background creating a dream-like quality, the desperation in her voice really shines through as she pleads with the memory to turn out differently.

Lady Lazarus’ “I Recall July” is as relatable as it is personal. The dream-like composition, the humble desperation, and the pained cries for the one that got away are all emotions we can cling to on a rainy afternoon.

Stream “I Recall July” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!


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Stream: “I Recall July” – Lady Lazarus

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I Recall July - Lady Lazarus

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Oliver Crook

Oliver Crook is a Canada-based journalist who has been playing guitar and deciphering lyrics since he first heard Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” blasting through his older brother’s bedroom walls. Although his taste has (somewhat) developed since then, his passion is just as strong as ever. When not writing about music, he can be found drinking too much coffee, complaining about the finickiness of avocados, and being disappointed by all of his favourite sports teams.