A caveat: words can’t fully express how much I love this song. By the end of this post, I will have written a couple paragraphs that (hopefully) capture why I think it’s great, and why I think it’s worth your time. But I’ll be no closer to conveying how my heart swells when I hear it.
There’s a couple things about this song – the last track on Disclosure’s incredible debut LP, “Settle” – that stand out right away. The first and most obvious is the rich, evocative voice of London Grammar’s Hannah Reid. The first time you hear it, the song’s first verse, she sounds warm and familiar, like an old friend inviting you in:
Talk to me and watch me crumble
You will see me come undone
Faithfully I will look over
There I’ll find what you’ve become
It’s a beautiful introduction to the song, largely because it sounds so real, so conversational, so human. Reid imbues these lines with a perfect mix of vulnerability and strength. The “me” and “you” instantly feel like characters, people you might know, maybe even yourself and someone you really do know, rather than abstract fictional constructions. You’re invested in this song’s story right away. And then the chorus hits – the song’s other obvious selling point, incredibly lush and blissfully funky – and the subdued emotion of the verse explodes into a devastating confession:
You help me lose my mind
And you believe something I can’t define
Help me lose my mind, make me run back
What about before?
Keep biding my time,
How much longer?
Who I’ve been waiting for
But what really makes this song special for me is what happens in the spaces between Reid’s voice and that soaring chorus. Namely: nothing. Seriously, several times in this song, nothing is happening. You hear one instrument – the kick drum, the high-hat, a synth – or maybe even literal silence. These gaps sound like the song taking a breath, or the tide receding before the next wave, and for some reason I find them utterly transcendent. I could talk about how the dynamic contrast between the verses and the choruses heightens the impact of the latter and deepens the melancholy of the former, but it goes beyond that. This is just one of those moments you get in music sometimes where everything comes together in a way that’s truly ineffable. I never thought I would consider silence my favorite part of a song I loved, but in “Help Me Lose My Mind,” my heart stops along with the music.