When cooking up some sweet music about heartache, if you were to add equal parts Stevie Nicks and Hope Sandoval, your dish would come out sounding a lot like Emily Monsen. Monsen makes her debut on our blog with “how we used to be,” a track about remembering a past relationship’s best moments, instead of focusing on its lack of closure. For many, this daunting task might seem easier said than done, but rest assured that you now have a delightful theme song to help guide you along this path.
“how we used to be” begins with some rain foley and we cannot help but imagine Monsen gazing across some stormy cityscape as she recalls a relationship that ended all too abruptly. An acoustic guitar pounds out the chords as a piano offers a minimalist version of a melancholic melody. As Monsen begins her narration of these past events, it is quite soothing– her voice has a wonderful vintage quality to it and fans of the aforementioned Nicks and Sandoval will be able to have their thirst immediately quenched. It’s got a bit of rasp as it glides through this melodious recording, coasting up into a breathy falsetto. Quite simply, it is perfectly divine as it completely rips your heart out.
As the production lifts at a minute-fifteen, with the rhythm section making its entrance, you may even catch some hints of Fiona Apple in Monsen’s voice (one of our favorite singers of all time). If you then listen carefully, you’ll be able to witness the subtle harmonies on the second verse, delicately positioned to add width to the production. And even though this song is so gloriously performed and recorded, the pain that it describes should not be overlooked, as Monsen runs her listener through a list of all the heartache that comes with wondering where everything went wrong.
Whether you’re dwelling on the past or looking forward to the future, “how we used to be” scores tens across the board with its relatable lyrics and a performance that will leave you crawling back to the play button, time and time again.