Depression is terrible, in every sense of the word. But it can manifest itself into things of striking nature in an artist’s mind.
Betty Reed of Nashville, Tennessee has allowed her depression to birth something of immense beauty and effect. A deeply personal song in Betty’s own words, she was reluctant to release it at first, only to be drawn to do this because of the reactions of her audiences at live shows when she plays it. And it’s easy to see why. This song talks about how Betty manages to deal with her depressive episodes, in an empowering and an inspiring fashion. They say that knowing where the problem lies is halfway into solving it, but it’s not that way when you suffer from mental health disorders, when you can perfectly pinpoint the issue, but feel wholly unable to resolve it, which adds fuel to fire, as one’s self esteem drains feeling this helpless. Without being such a downer, Shallow End perfectly captures this helplessness, which is why it feels so personal, and why audiences react to it so readily.
A stunning piece with a foot firmly within the radio-friendly Pop realm, and the other foot seemingly everywhere else, exploring synthwave, ambient, and alternative tropes all at once. The 4-chord loop is familiar enough, leaving room for the arrangement to wander around and be all unpredictable. The massive expanse of synthpads adds a ton of space, which is then complimented and filled by the gargantuan beat, played electronically and minimally at first, before exploding with subtle, yet smoldering fury as the dazzling guitar solo erupts above, then it settles down for a bit, before becoming a skeleton that solidly supports the gorgeous, calculated coda. The guitar solo is a stunningly perfect one, in my opinion. The dense reverb and distortion are a mix that’s alien and discomforting, the first notes hit out of nowhere, dissonant, intense, taking you by absolute surprise in a moment of surreal beauty. Guitars not sounding like guitars happen to be some of my favorite guitar sounds, make of that what you will.
A song that steadily straddles the thread-thin line between musical accessibility and jarring dissonance at times, while maintaining a serene, angelic atmosphere throughout. Amazing use of texture and surprise in the composition and in the arrangement, and the touching, personal message is the (sad) cherry on top.