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"be-longing" - kate elpo | Review

Dreamy acoustic noodling melded with a myriad of musical influences ignite a warm, fuzzy feeling deep inside on Kate Elpo’s new single “be-longing,” as she tackles the universal sentiment of missing loved ones during the pandemic.

The song is quiet and slow, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of late, cold nights by candlelight. Lyrics like “was just a dream/a ghost caressing me/i still wear your shirt when i sleep” re-enforce this image - it’s deep, dark, and melancholic, but there’s also a sense of peace to it as well. Wearing an old shirt to bed provides a sense of comfort in the same way solace can be found listening to a song that deeply resonates with you. Given the circumstances the whole world has found itself in, everyone can find themselves somewhere in these lyrics.

The musical arrangement of this piece is an added element of genius: it starts out with warm acoustic noodling akin to indie folk acts like The Head and The Heart, but Elpo’s honeyed, airy voice coupled with an upright bass gives it the poise, elegance, and sophistication of a contemporary jazz tune like that of Norah Jones. More than halfway through its 4-minute and 18-second run, it recalls its rootsy, rustic influence as it introduces a slide guitar. Floating quietly on top of it all are tender keys, keeping a serene and steady pace for the rest of the song. Through an exemplary meld of influence, the relatability of “be-longing” extends past its lyrical content; sonically, there is musical appeal for just about everyone.

Elpo wrote this song at the beginning of the lockdown, writing “I found myself and my loved ones separated in different countries, unable to get back together,” and cited it as a way to connect with them and send her love from a distance. For the rest of us, it’s the perfect song to put on that playlist we’ve been making for our long-distance friends and partners.

Kate Elpo is a singer/songwriter based in Berlin, simply making sense of the world around her through song. By closely observing her surroundings and innermost thoughts, her writing serves as intensive self-therapy and self-expression simultaneously. “Be-longing” is the first single off her upcoming EP, “sweethurt,” which is set to release at the end of the year.

Written by Jess Ward

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