Like a trick candle on a birthday cake—sometimes a flame can’t be extinguished. Unhappy relationships are riddled with unending conflict, yet many stay and endure the dejection. Addictive anxiety, fear of abandonment, or low self-esteem are likely culprits, but maybe it’s something else that keeps us holding on. Maybe it’s just not worth the fight.
With their latest single, Your Paris paints a picture of a couple battling to ignore their troubles and pretend to be the perfect pair they see in their imaginations. The concept is complex, intriguing, and real. “Rooms” is a visual song; it tells a story you can see rather than just hear. There’s something so poignant about its subject matter. Listeners can watch a dance between two lovers as they ultimately give in to their mollifying memories—the only vice that brings them solace.
It’s difficult to pinpoint this track’s strongest feature because there are so many. One might argue it’s the very structure of the piece. It’s more than just lyrics over sounds. The words explain the message, sure, but also does the music itself—embodying the companions on their journey through a tumultuous relationship. In each element do we feel the tension, the longing, the desperation, the sensuality. The arrangement is the body of the song—the words: the mind. Notice the percussion when it enters; it’s essentially a heartbeat devoid of high-end. Notice the appearance of passing chords as time passes and as the feelings get increasingly complex. Notice the romance conveyed by the mere atmosphere of the bass frequencies.
“Rooms” boasts the band’s musicality as well. The song’s interest and beauty come from the melody and progression. Hear it in specific moments throughout—like when lead vocalist Laila Kharouba hits the minor seventh over the iv chord in the chorus, or how the B minor is swapped out with a Bsus2 in the last go-around. It’s more than just those choices though, that make the track gleam; it’s the performances of the creators that make such a difference. The production is so clean—offering an immersive experience in both headphones and speakers. The guitar is like glass—contributing to the song’s beautiful blend of electronic and real, reverberating instruments. It sounds as though both (or the bottom two) pickups are activated on the guitar itself. The keys that appear in the pre-chorus are alluring and satisfyingly significant.
Then there are the vocal performances. Listeners will be captivated by how Kharouba’s voice can be at times so weightless yet so under control. The introduction of Nick Babcock’s harmony in the second verse doesn’t only sound great but also gives the audience a fuller picture of the story. It’s like the cries from the other side of the relationship. They’re in agreement with the narrator—hence harmony. Songwriting is shone in the spotlight with this single. “Rooms” is everything a dark-pop song should be and more. When the first chorus hits, you’re not letting go—that’s why they call it a hook.
Nick Babcock and Laila Kharouba are Your Paris. This duo from Toronto was freshly formed and yet is rapidly growing Spotify listeners in 2020. When you hear their new tune, their increasing success will come as no surprise. The two are brilliant artists who know how to craft beauty out of darkness—that’s what makes their music so moving.
When it comes to relationships, it’s possible to be in love with the mess. The hardships we face together are sometimes the foundation that forms an unbreakable bond. “Rooms” shares a story seldom heard in songs, but often experienced in life. That’s what makes it meaningful. That’s what makes it inspiring.
Written by Matt Kalicky