Premiere: Harlee’s “Venom” Burns with Pop-Filled Betrayal

Harlee © Mara Yamnicky (Hosh Gureli)
Harlee © Mara Yamnicky (Hosh Gureli)
Harlee examines the betrayal of a friendship with her pleasantly pop-filled new tune, “Venom.”

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Sometimes, the betrayal of a friend can be even more heartbreaking than the betrayal of someone you are seeing. It’s that much more of a blindside when you find out a friendship isn’t real. We are so predisposition to be wary of new relationships that when they don’t work out, it can be easier to swallow. However when a friend betrays you it can be jarring – shocking – and downright heartbreaking. Harlee examines this betrayal with her intimate, pleasantly pop-filled new tune, “Venom.”

Listen: “Venom” – Harlee

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Venom,” the sophomore single from 17-year-old U.K. artist Harlee. Based in Cheshire, England, Harlee follows up her dance-friendly debut “Holding On” with a song that reveals another side to her: The deeper, reflective observer connecting with the surrounding world. “I fear some may perceive ‘Venom’ as the standard romantic relationship-gone-sour song,” she says, “but in reality, ‘Venom’ is about a supposed friend who gradually revealed herself as a fraud. I think the song properly reflects my continued evolution as an artist, and I’m quite excited to share it with the world.”

Venom - Harlee
Venom – Harlee

Echoing hymns and soft piano tones introduce a darkly emotive soundscape, out of which Harlee’s deep and sweltering voice enters singing,

Oh here we go again
You’re not so innocent
But I’m so over it
I’m burning this bridge and I’m gone
You smile to my face but I know it’s an act
Don’t think I can’t feel the knife in my back
You know that I do
Just know that I do
Oh yeah I do

Electric drum claps and low synth sounds interject throughout the verse, creating a very current pop/electric sound that finds its own uniqueness in a familiar realm. As the chorus rises, Harlee’s Alessia Cara-like voice takes a somber turn:

You tried to get in my head
Taste that poison on your breath
Does it feel good? Bet it feels good?
Does it feel good?
You tried to make it hurt
But I can’t forget that burn
Of the venom…
Harlee © Mara Yamnicky (Hosh Gureli)
Harlee © Mara Yamnicky (Hosh Gureli)

The music breaks down at the bridge, really allowing Harlee to shine, creating a moment in the song for her message to sink in with the listeners.

You tried to get in my head
Taste that poison on your breath
You tried to make it hurt
But I can’t forget that burn

Just like venom, Harlee’s words seep into our skin until they’re coarsing through our blood.


While “Venom” is about betrayal, it is also about strength. It is about standing your ground and knowing what you deserve out of a friendship. It is about taking a bad situation, learning from it, and then making yourself stronger in the end. In a sea of songs about relationship heartbreaks, this is a unique twist, however unique; it is still instantly relatable for girls, boys, men and women all around the world.

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:: stream/purchase “Venom” here ::

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Venom - Harlee

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