Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Sometimes a song comes along that expresses something raw, dark and disturbing in a way that drives home the point powerfully. Strange Eyes’ latest single Close is one of those songs. It is a poignant and twisted story of a relationship gone horribly wrong. It was unsettling but it was that very quality that drove its message home for me with devastating accuracy.
Echoes of synth move out into a very spacious, reverb-rich soundscape and then the drums kick in with tremulous synth notes rising over that beat’s pulse. Strange Eyes has a rich, full and expressive voice and the vocal melody has a nice rhythm and movement to it. The combination of the dark edges to the music and the expressive power within Strange Eyes’ voice deliver this tale of a broken, twisted connection with a real hammerblow.
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This is not a song that pulls any punches when it comes to emotional content and imagery. It is dark and disturbing, but that’s what gives its words power. The lyrics first ask, “What do I gotta do to get close to you?” They continue as the singer says, “There was magic in the air, it was safe enough and yet I couldn’t seem to get close.”
We take an abrupt and disturbing tack when the chorus hits. It says, “You want screaming? I’ll show you screaming/I’ll give that pretty face a smack/You’re not breathing/Why aren’t you breathing?/You know I kinda like it when you fight back.”
Immediately we are in a dangerous and violent world, in the realm of a relationship that has gone terrifyingly and toxically wrong. The twisted nature of the relationship that the song outlines is especially apparent in the lyric, “You’re the kind of girl who likes to tease them all and yet they can never get close/But I’m not taking off, if you want me to go/Well babe you better learn to get close.”
The chorus is no less disturbing the second time around and it gets even more so when it alters the final line to “you know I kinda like it when they don’t fight back.” After that chorus, the outcome of this destructive, damaging relationship is clearly expressed when the lyrics say, “One time I was almost human/I was almost human.”
Strange Eyes is clearly a brave artist, unafraid to tackle controversial and challenging material. Her singing ability combined with effective musical backing and the lyrical power of Close has resulted in a song that starkly limns what happens when one is trapped in an abusive, toxic relationship. It wasn’t easy to hear, but at the end of the day, sometimes that’s the best way to get a point across.