Review: BEL Emerges with Hope & Strength on Glistening Debut Single “Silver Line”

BEL © Mackenzie Breeden @macksfilms
BEL © Mackenzie Breeden @macksfilms
Hope and the human spirit run wild and free throughout BEL’s debut single “Silver Line,” a stirring indie folk outpouring of reassurance in the face of doubt and despair.
Stream: “Silver Line” – BEL

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I’m going to get through this; I’m going to get past it; I’m gonna move forward; God knows I have to – I’ll be alright…

Hope and the human spirit run wild and free throughout BEL’s debut single, shaking us awake not with a jolt of raw energy but with a warm wash of soothing sounds and inspiring lyrics. A stirring indie folk outpouring of reassurance in the face of doubt and despair, “Silver Line” is a haunting introduction to an artist we can’t wait to hear more from in the years to come!

Silver Line - BEL
Silver Line – BEL
Trying to remain poetic
In the midst of epidemic
And heartbreak
Solid earth starts to shake
Cancellations, I’m isolated
But I’m elated
I don’t have to see your face
Mandated personal space

Independently released May 22nd, “Silver Line” is the debut single from BEL, the nom de plume of LA-based, Clovis-born singer/songwriter Isabel Whelan. While she has already shared rooms and stages with the likes of Temme Scott, Eva B. Ross, and Jack Symes, and featured and co-written others’ releases (“Fake Love” by Aaron Lindt), “Silver Line” marks BEL’s first “official” musical release of her own – and as far as first impressions go, this one seals the deal upon impact.

Rising out of the emptiness, BEL’s subtle acoustic guitar and intimate, impassioned voice soar. The artist sings of personal struggle and isolation – a situation not unlike the one all of us in lockdown still find ourselves in today. “It’s a hopeful reflection on heartbreak, isolation, and learning to find the silver lining through painful times,” Whelan shared upon her track’s release.

BEL © Mackenzie Breeden @macksfilms
BEL © Mackenzie Breeden @macksfilms

But this song wasn’t inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown, or quarantine. “‘Silver Line’ is a story of resilience and self-reassurance in the face of crisis,” Whelan tells Atwood Magazine. “The song came to be when my long term relationship ended out of the blue right before the global pandemic. Healing from heartbreak and sheltering in place while the whole world turns upside down is a new kind of grief. I was talking with my friend–feeling kind of doomsday about everything–when she said something that sparked the idea for “Silver Line”: “Well hey, at least you know you won’t run into him anywhere right now.” That gave me a new perspective that felt empowering: to find the silver lining when your world and the entire world around you is collapsing. So I went into my tiny room in my tiny Hollywood apartment and began to write ‘Silver Line.'”

BEL hits her high in a stunning chorus full of poignant, beautiful poetry:

I’ll be alright
When it rains, it pours
And I didn’t change my wipers
Like you said I should
We’re stuck inside
He’s an empty grocery store
And I am looking to survive

While there is no one thing that necessarily sets “Silver Line” apart from the rest – it truly is a group effort of lyrics, vocals, instruments, and production – the chorus taps into a depth of emotion and substance that leaves us feeling how Whelan feels – knowing what she’s gone through on a visceral level.

Whelan was supposed to record “Silver Line” and other songs off her (forthcoming) debut EP this spring, but the world had other plans; instead, she brought this song to life remotely, working with friends in different cities to see her vision through to reality. The fact that the song’s creation story is itself one of perseverance adds an extra layer of special meaning and depth to an already inspiring listening experience.

Smile though it feels synthetic
Self-pity, I feel pathetic
For missing you
Put your mask on and hide the truth
Self-reflection, finding direction
Scrub to the bone to feel some protection
I stop myself
Put you up in a box on a shelf
BEL © Mackenzie Breeden @macksfilms
BEL © Mackenzie Breeden @macksfilms

“Before quarantine, I had a date set in April to record the first few songs of my debut EP in a studio, until the closing of non-essential businesses threw a wrench in the works. That’s when I decided to just release “Silver Line” as my debut single,” Whelan shares. “I traveled home to my family in the Central Valley for quarantine, taking along bare bones recording equipment. I worked *virtually* with my friend, Jimmy Keeley, to co-produce and finish “Silver Line” remotely. Jimmy added a lot of cool textures with Mellotron and Rhodes, and had the idea of including ambient city sounds at the end of the song.”

She continues, “I love this ending since it feels like I’m back in the apartment where the song began. I also reached out to friends Sean Lee (electric guitar), Kyle Frankhuizen (bass), and Nate Schwartz (mandolin) to lay down their parts remotely in conjunction with the masterful Jeremie Inhaber, who mixed and mastered it all. The feel of the arrangement is meant to reflect the stages of healing: through the initial wave of sadness, the gradual build, and the ultimate break in the clouds. I am so grateful for the way everyone brought this song to life. Being able to connect remotely with friends to make “Silver Line” allowed for a catharsis and brought me a lot of joy. I hope I can share a bit of that feeling with anyone who listens. There’s comfort in hope when you allow yourself to trust that it is going to be okay.”

There’s comfort in hope when you allow yourself to trust that it is going to be okay.

I’ll be alright
When it rains, it pours
And I didn’t change my wipers
Like you said I should
We’re stuck inside
I can’t see you anymore
But I can see the silver line
Finally I can see the silver line

Ultimately, “Silver Line” stands as a resounding reminder that we will overcome; we will see this through; and in the end, we will be alright. It’s a beautiful musical mantra for all who need it right now – and whether you sing it to yourself, or prefer to have BEL sing it for you, “Silver Line” is here to be an oasis of strength and healing. Listen to BEL’s debut single, and stay tuned for more from this exciting singer/songwriter!

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:: stream/purchase “Silver Line” here ::
Stream: “Silver Line” – BEL

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Silver Line - BEL

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? © Mackenzie Breeden @macksfilms

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