“Yeah” by Alex Bloom is a cozy-sounding but grief-stricken narrative that feels like a hug done out of sadness and the necessity for some sort of warmth. The few seconds in the beginning do not quite feel like that, though, as it begins with a distortive vibration that quickly blends into the natural feel of the rest of the song. Upon first listen, the harmonica was the most significant standout, reminding me of Bob Dylan– especially “Blonde on Blonde.”
The atmosphere of the song transports the listener to a woodsy, folksy home during the twindling out of “stick season,” the time of year where fall foliage is dried out but paths are not snow capped yet. This is not to say it is gloomy, but it has an introspective theme and sensation to it that, personally, reminds me of when weather is beautifully gray; it is a magnificent winter song. Alex’s voice has the attributes of many famous folk and indie singer-songwriters, but with less of a twang and a bit more sharpness than, say, Elliot Smith, perfectly suited for the genre in which he is writing for.
In terms of lyrics, they are much more saddening than the song appears to be when purely listening sonically. The narrator is adjusting to a life with a big hole missing, and they clearly feel very isolated. They describe how “since you been gone/I’m shown how it feels,” which I interpreted as how they, even though they have not left in the same way, also feel gone or separated from their previous self. The narrator recognizes that this is a time of introspection and emotional growth, but to use the songwriter’s words himself, “everything kinda seems to be fine, though you know deep down it's not at all how you hoped life would be by this point.” At the end of the day, no matter how much personal improvement happens, it will never outweigh the yearning for their presence back in your life any less.
Lyrical and instrumental repetition emphasize this emotion even further, as there are no abrupt changes in the production and many lyrics are used in multiple instances. “Yeah” is also thematically cyclic; days feel the same: creaks in walls and phone calls are droning and meaningless when they may not have felt so earlier on. The word “years” at the end of the second chorus is repeated several times to stress
how much time lost parts of themself had and how they solemnly accept that those parts will never return to them.
Learning to cope with isolation in your environment and to move past a person who you once were is a life-long journey and a tribulating one at that. “Yeah” is a beautiful expression of saudade, and, even though Alex Bloom describes feeling lonesome, those listening can feel that with him, making it a little bit less dreadful.
Review by Inari