Washington darling Whitney Ballen is gearing up to release her debut album with a resounding single that is every bit as glorious as the vast landscape of the Pacific Northwest she's from. Back in 2014 Ballen released her debut EP Falls, a beautifully stripped down ode to life, love, and Washington. She followed up with another EP, Being Here is Hard, in 2017, a similar collection of simple yet poignant songs. All of the best elements of her previous releases have been blended to create the quietly majestic sound on “Go,” a heartbreaking plea to call it off.
Ballen’s voice rings out in a haunting whisper, “Go, forget about me, I know it’s easy,” eventually building into a howl that almost feels like Ballen is screaming out to the universe, “Why don’t you leave?” Ballen’s voice is one of a kind, somehow simultaneously on edge and at ease. She really does sound sad, and it breaks my heart.
If you listen closely, there are soft layers of lush instrumentation that create this sweeping atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re looking up at the night sky and realizing how big and vast the cosmos are. Once the vocals come in, you can hear all kinds of instruments coming in, almost as if they’re rushing to support Ballen’s shaky whisper grow into a full fledged dismissal. The guitar strumming and drumming at the start of the song is frantic and anxious as it builds up to Ballen’s whispery voice urging her partner to leave, like she’s building up the courage to say everything she needs to.
Do you know how sometimes, you want to tell yourself you wanted something so it’s easier to come to terms with it when it happens? That’s what it feels like listening to this song. If you tell someone to leave, maybe it won’t hurt as much when they really do.
You’re A Shooting Star, I’m A Sinking Ship is out August 24th via Father Daughter Records and Substitute Scene Records. Until then, imagine yourself screaming along to this song while running around in the sweeping mountains somewhere. Let it go, and maybe all of it won’t hurt as much.