A lyrical journey, “apollo’s song” by Mae Krell is written from the perspective of a young adult coming to terms with all the time that has passed; time that she didn’t think she would have. Mae writes about her dog, Apollo, and how he is no longer a puppy, but full grown with a few gray hairs. In “apollo’s song,” Apollo is used not just as a subject matter but as a literary device to signify the surprise of witnessing other important events in her life, such as the possibility of marriage and her brother going to college. Instrumentally, “apollo’s song” begins with earthy, plucky guitar and subtle tambourine creating an image of a foggy, distant forest landscape for the listener– similar to the environment in which the song came about.
Mae was touring the United States camp-style with her car, tent, and of course Apollo, leading to many hikes on the United States’ array of national parks. By following hiking etiquette, many run-ins with others led to conversations about Apollo, and thus his age, serving as the beginning of the emotional realization inspiring “apollo’s song”. Not only is this experience reflected lyrically, but the natural elements in the production and with the folkish instruments shape the listener’s experience beyond the written story, especially when paired with her serene, soothing vocal color. Mae’s delivery is coated in nostalgia, pulling listeners’ heart strings with stylistically shaky breaths and her choice of fluctuation between a register similar to her speaking voice and a more breathy yet supported tone. The stripped back nature of “apollo’s song” sets the foreground for a lot of empty space, filled with raw vocals led by the lyrical story. It seems as though what is meant to be heard is not the guitar nor is it her voice: it’s her words. Her vocal delivery and the instruments played translate to be carriers for the lyrics in “apollo’s song,” executing a well-balanced journey.
Although a finished listen of “apollo’s song” leaves the listener feeling melancholic, it is somewhat joyous: it is comforting to hear Mae say that she is enjoying a life she didn’t plan to, even if aging is a hard truth to face for all. To use the artist’s exact words, the listener can see that now dreams are “a luxury she can afford,” which, in itself, is fairly optimistic, even if it is contextualized in a different, more bittersweet light.
“apollo’s song” is a candid look into Mae’s life, leaving myself and most likely all who listen grateful to hear her story, but not so much so it feels detached from a common human experience. Mae delicately explores adapting into what life means for her in “apollo’s song,” touching listeners’ hearts, regardless of relatability through her honesty and openness.