Moody and enchanting, even when detailing the disenchantments of everyday life, “The Park” by Julia Mendes is an acoustic indie folk tune that brings folk back to its roots. As the title track for her debut EP, it’s flooded with twinkling, sparkling guitars while haunting melodies float in the background.
Mendes’s vocal and lyrical performance is similar to that of boygenius–demanding that the listener fully engage with its content to get the most out of it. A listener cannot be passive with a song like this, paying attention guarantees the most payoff. Lyrically, it addresses the dichotomy of growing up hearing sentiments that shout America’s greatness from the rooftops, while simultaneously hearing those that undermine their neighbors and suggest danger around every corner, like hiding drugs in Halloween candy. As the narrator of our song looks around, she finds herself seeing unhealthy coping mechanisms, people trying to come to terms with an unfulfilled promise of the American Dream, and herself at a crossroads–what is there to believe at the end of it all?
The song runs for 5 minutes, really gearing up around the 3-minute mark. With such nuanced lyricism at the heart of it, Mendes does a fantastic job of keeping you engaged for the full 5 minutes, never once making the listener think, or even believe, that it’s almost twice as long as the average song. “The Park” is a song for the people–a display that criticizes the space she grew up in while also holding a real love and nostalgia for it, much of what classic Americana folk music was built on.
Julia Mendes’s debut EP “The Park” was released on September 1st, 2023. It was recorded from her bedroom in New Jersey, and details her life as it’s been to this point, such as “her relationships, her childhood and hometown, and feelings of uncertainty and disaffection, while reckoning with and attempting to break free from the allure of a nihilistic outlook on life”.