Patrik Jean’s new single “NUMB” is an experience to listen to. Right off the back, Jean’s voice comes through singing repeatedly “Numb. I’m just numb.” His intonational and vocals echo through my head, conveying his feelings of despair. Drums echo in the background and along with the rest of the soundtrack give the song a more “clubier” feel, contrasting the dark, depressing message. While “NUMB” is about “having no emotions left, about reaching that point that you can’t take any more feelings”, Jean’s song makes the listener feel anything but numb. More sad than numb, “NUMB” is a whirlwind of emotions and sounds.
His chorus, identical to the opening, repeats the phrase “I’m just numb”, creating an onslaught of being stuck in a loop. No other phrases are said, so the listener can only think about feeling numb. Jean also drags out the syllables in numb, lengthening the sounds, which in turns creates a vibration running through the listener’s body. The vibration and feeling is then thrown off when Jean incorporates a short pause like static in between the two syllables in the word numb. While the listener is feeling the sadness and despair, they feel a bit numb because all they hear is the same phrase and vibration. That static-like pause occurs again in another chorus and in other places in “NUMB.” Nearing the end of the song, in the second to last chorus, there is the similar static but also a longer one, evoking the sense of not being able to get back on track and being stuck for the artist and the listener. In addition, at the end of that chorus, Jean sings “my heart’s inside out” with the “out” being broken up by beats, creating a similar feel to the previous static-like pauses. Breaking up the word “out” with beats creates a feeling of being trapped in limbo, of being aware but incapable of interacting with your surroundings or doing anything active other than think or feel.
Throughout the song, the lyric “i kinda think i’m doing okay” stood out to me because it felt like a paradox. It seems obvious based on Jean’s sad tone and situation that he is not okay and is struggling, yet through the line Jean is attempting to convey the opposite. However, it does make sense because many, including the listener, understand trying to convince yourself or others that you're okay when you aren’t. I think that is also why the line stood out to me. In addition, Jean isn’t saying “he’s doing okay” rather he “kinda thinks”, giving off a sense of hesitancy, and it’s alliteration of the k sounds and similar d sound give a poetic vibe.
While the song does have a club-like feel to it, at places the drum beat slows down or isn’t present, creating a slower, more emotionally drained feeling. At that point, it feels like Jean may be more attuned with his self and feelings. He isn't numb but is able to understand his feelings. However, since he's used to feeling numb, it may feel too overwhelming, and it’s contrast to the rest of the song may also overwhelm the listener.
Patrik Jean is a Swedish singer songwriter who began writing music as a way to be heard. Beginning as a writer for other artists as well as collaborating with artists, Jean eventually began releasing his own more personal songs on his own. Jean partook in Sweden’s national competition to select its Eurovision entry singing his song “Tears Run Dry.” Look out for more music this fall from Jean, including “NUMB”.
Written by Anne Friedman