What is real? What is imaginary? A child knows no regret like wishing they hadn’t stayed up late to watch that thriller. Just picture this: You’re a kid again, and you somehow managed to stay up past your parents’ bedtime. You’re alone with the remote control. A horror movie catches your attention. You know you’re too young to watch it, but that’s what’s intriguing. The excitement fades, however, when the scary monster comes on screen. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Now you’re left staring at the ceiling with the covers pulled up to your eyelids—haunted by the thought of what could be lurking underneath your bed.
Alas, we grow up and harden. As we age, we’re left desensitized to the inhuman-looking creatures conjured up by special-effects artists and authors of fantastical storybooks that once left us scarred—but does that mean the monsters go away? No. In our lives, they evolve into entities far more sinister: “fears of failure, mental-health issues, broken relationships, childhood traumas,” as singer/songwriter Kat Saul puts it. The scariest monsters are the ones we can’t see—the ones we can’t touch—the ones that haunt us in the dark when we close our eyes.
This is what Saul tackles in her addictive, new single, “Monsters.” Inspired by a well-warranted fear of the unknown, the song puts into words what we all feel when we lay our heads down to sleep and hear anxiety ringing the doorbell.
One of the most notable features of this song is the way the mood is able to defy the chord progression. The inversions and melody affect the music in such a way that the major chords sound dark in their presentation—reinforcing the morose motif. On top of it all, Saul’s vocal talent is undeniable. The way she delivers the desperation in the chorus is spot-on. You can just see her throwing her head back and pulling her clenched fists towards her chest.
Kat Saul graced the world with her debut EP in 2019 and caught my ear with a nod to Fox’s New Girl. She was able to make the pilgrimage from her hometown in Music City to Los Angeles before the pandemic struck. Since then, she’s been busy putting together her sophomore work that’s bound to send listeners back in time to relive the fashion, naiveté, and amusements of their high-school days during the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Saul is undoubtedly a girl who listened to good music growing up. She found the sweet spot at the intersection of rock and pop and has turned her passion into a powerful new project. “Monsters” is a great track that gets right to the point. It’ll be stuck in your mind after just one listen, leaving no room for any misgivings to move from under the bed straight into your head.
Written by Matt Kalicky