Sultry songstress tigerlily follows up her debut single with “new york,” an indie electro pop song with an infectious rhythm guaranteed to make you dance, with a lyrically melancholic twist.
Around the world, New York City is seen as a place where dreams come true; it’s home to Broadway, Central Park, world-class academic institutions, and museums for every interest. Tigerlily flips this reputation on its head, using a romantic fling to lament that the connection she once had is the only thing keeping her there. In the first verse, she sings “can’t fall back to sleep, your thoughts keeping me locked in my mind.” In the second verse, she calls back to this idea, but this time saying “can’t fall back to sleep, Brooklyn’s keeping me locked in New York,” emphasizing the idea that she feels equally trapped by the memories of her past love and the city limits.
Tigerlily’s voice is bright and sweet, like it’s dancing on air, but beneath it rumbles a lower, darker, even brooding instrumental arrangement. Made up of a syrupy smooth guitar, echoing synths, and a sharp, steady percussion, this adaptation creates a sultry, luscious mood, with Tigerlily’s wispy vocals floating on top. The arrangement juxtaposes flawlessly with her voice, and the same can be said for the arrangement and the song’s lyrical content-- she’s imploring you to challenge what you come to expect from her.
Prior to my first listen, upon reading its title, I expected a tune about the vibrancy, resiliency, and romance of New York, but I was presented with a powerful woman lamenting about how she feels confined instead. Her honest, eloquent songwriting is what gives “new york” its heart and character, and with that, she is smashing expectations.
Tigerlily grew up in Seattle where she was the frontwoman of an all-girl grunge band, once hailed the “Best Underaged Band” by Seattle Weekly. Now, she’s based in New York City, where she creates alluring indie pop music described as “the grainy film of memories, so sweet and persistent” by EARMILK. She’s built an army of fans for herself on Tik Tok and Instagram with over 40,000 followers. Tigerlily is also a vocal advocate for Asian Americans and other musicians of color in the industry, demanding more representation for those marginalized communities.
Written by Jess Ward