Premiere: The Youthful Glaze of Nora Rothman’s “Truth or Dare”

Nora Rothman © 2017
Nora Rothman © 2017

Truth or dare, do you love me, do you care?

Truth or dare? The provocative question crosses cultures and generations, signaling for all that twilight period between youth and adulthood. We recall our innocence, and our curiosity: There’s a reason the word “adulterate” means what it does. Playful and inviting, Nora Rothman’s “Truth or Dare” is a youthful invitation to bask in the games of love.

Truth or dare, do you like my lacy underwear?
Truth or dare, did you notice that I dyed my hair?
Truth or dare, are you gonna miss me when you fly back there?
Truth or dare, what’s behind your stare?
Watch: “Truth or Dare” – Nora Rothman

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Truth or Dare,” the sophomore single off Nora Rothman’s upcoming debut self-titled EP (independently out July 21, 2017). Born in Hollywood and schooled at Brown, Rothman’s light music reflects dreams of an easy life. The 26-year-old Silver Lake, CA resident evokes sounds of both coasts on her first offering as she tests the waters, in search of a defining voice to call her own.

Nora Rothman EP album art
Nora Rothman EP

“Truth or Dare” is simple, yet refined: A burst of raw sunshine mixed with vibrant young energy.

Hit me below the belt
Make me feel like I’ve never been felt
Truth or dare, if I find another man will you care?
Truth or dare, is the way that I kiss you unfair?

Rothman’s bare ukulele playing crafts a sense of innocence that is at once lost and further promoted through her lyrics, which grow increasingly tense through the careful unraveling of her insecurities. Whereas she debuted last month with the poignant and telling “Note to My Ex-Lover,” Rothman’s latest offering feels like a before-impact release: We feel her struggle to express her deepest, truest feelings to that special someone.

Say dare
Truth or dare, do you love me, do you care?
Dare. Don’t go anywhere.
Nora Rothman © 2017
Nora Rothman © 2017

“‘Truth or Dare’ was the first song I ever wrote on a ukulele. I don’t think I even knew any chords,” recalls Rothman. “I sat down in my childhood bedroom and three hours later it was done. I never touched it again.” There’s always something different about songs that write themselves: They’re easier to relate to, perhaps because of how utterly natural they came to be.

Rothman captures a different moment in the “Truth or Dare” music video, which features behind-the-scenes footage of Rothman setting up to film a live performance on her fire escape, and taking a detour along the way. She and videographer Tommy Ufland ended up taping their experience at a festival on the block below the apartment: We see joy in Rothman’s body grow as she embraces life’s randomness. Balancing the emotional outpouring of Rothman’s lyrics, the video offers a satisfactory snapshot of life’s warmth.

Despite its airiness, “Truth or Dare” leaves room for tension. That seldom happens on ukulele-driven songs, most of which are written off to begin with (Eddie Vedder, anyone?). Yet there exists a deep and often-overlooked catharsis in this music: It begs us to let go, and just be. And for that, Nora Rothman, we thank you.

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Nora Rothman EP album art

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