Where is there left to go when you’ve reached the darkest point in your life? The latest single from Toronto-based musician Cat and the Queen, aka Cat Montgomery (and the ‘queen’- her keyboard), is a cathartic metamorphosis, detailing the transition from unspeakable grief to inner tranquility. Inspired by the singer’s own struggles with alcohol, Leave Here Tonight is profoundly vulnerable, addressing the complexity of heavy emotions such as suicide.
Returning to Toronto in the depths of alcohol abuse, Leave Here Tonight emerged from Cat’s bleak contemplation of ending her life one afternoon in the bathtub. Still dripping wet, she immediately wrote the lyrics for the track, detailing the journey from personal grief and suffering, to emotional release and peace.
Cat expressed, “This track means a lot to me. I mean, all of them do in a way, but this puppy took almost two years to come out. Starts good and dark and finds release in the second half… which is so much of the practice, aint it? Dark to light to dark to down to up to release to friendship to action to quiet to contemplation to pause to music.”
At the beginning of the track, there are resonating, ethereal synths that seem to fill the air with an intense transcendent quality. Cat’s vocals are trembling with such fierce emotion, it’s as if we’re hearing the personal prayer that the lyrics reflect– ‘Mother, Mother, I’d really like to go now.’ A fragile piano underscores the other musical components, tying together the first half of the song as a beautifully powerful ballad.
While the start of the track is devastatingly somber, there are fleeting glimpses of hope that can be heard. Building to an intense climax, a stark transformation takes hold and Cat’s voice seems to echo across sound pleading, ‘I want to leave here tonight.’ The echoing of her voice symbolizes the racing thoughts that come with contemplating suicide, and the overwhelming despair it can leave you in. The ending of the song signals a pivotal release from this forlornness, and transitions to a more optimistic, electronically glistening sound as Cat asks, ‘Can we begin again?’
The compelling dynamic of a soft lulling ballad, to a purifying indie pop track reflects the intricate feelings of grief and despair. It represents the process of healing, and how emotionally freeing it can be to realize the grief doesn’t have to control you, but can instead be the catalyst for your rebirth.
Drawing from her own artistic multidisciplinary background, Cat’s energetically colorful presence goes beyond her music to create an unparalleled live experience, complete with the help of her vibrant backing band, ‘The New Royals.’ Her effervescent persona captures your attention long enough for her to deliver the emotional blow that is her intensely soulful discography, leaving you equally staggered and enlivened.
By Cassidy Copenheaver