There’s something so electrifying about cloaked voices. The arrangement of muted voices speaks to my soul the most—I like music where I have to turn my volume all the way up to understand the lyrics. Not to hear them. To understand them.
Honorable mentions of that soul-searching serotonin include Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” “Holocene,” and “Rosyln.” Honorable mentions also include Harry Styles’ “Cherry” and Phoebe Bridgers’ “Scott Street.”
And, the most honorable mention of all, includes absolutely anything by Day Wave.
Not a band, but a single singer—Jackson Phillips—has been a familiar name in my Spotify playlists for the past few years; his 2015 single, “Drag,” first pulled me by the ankles to his underwater cove of underwater sounds.
And his latest EP, Crush, is a deep exploration of that cove.
It starts with “Starting Again,” a song equivalent to an overcast shoreline, cloudy waves, and evergreen fog. It feels wrong to listen to it in my bed, where I only have my four navy walls to resemble a dark day. This song, with the continual cloudy line of “I hate it when you push me out,” needs to be played amongst the damp sand with water droplets creating moving art on my windows, and my raincoat, and the leaves of the trees.
“Starting Again” is the entrance—the green greeting to a world unknown.
“Potions” is the equivalent to a piece of art in a museum that doesn’t catch your eye at first, but when everyone starts to leave, and you’re running to catch up, part of the painting tugs at your sweater and begs you to stay—begs you to look. And this song begs you to listen.
There’s something so familiar yet so unknown to Day Wave’s sound; whenever I play this song especially, it’s like I’m missing the feeling of surfing even though I’ve never surfed. It’s like I’m longing to go back to a sunny morning turned stormy night that never even happened.
“Potions” is the emerald gem hidden amongst the seashells and rocks of the ocean floor.
The third track of the EP, “Empty,” made me absolutely transcend this realm, as if the two previous songs hadn’t already. Ironically titled “Empty,” it made me feel so full. So full of energy, of color, of passion, of feelings. Of feelings I’ve never felt, of energy I haven’t had in weeks, of color that has been so devoid in these days lately.
I just kept rewinding and rewinding and rewinding. Listening to this song is the swim to the bottom of the ocean. Everything feels like eternity: slow movements, slow minutes. But the rush of reaching the destination is electric where every eternity washes away, and it’s those fast and slow moments that make up “Empty.”
“Empty” is the descent, and “Crush,” the final track on the EP, is the ascent—and the float.
So starkly contrasting the colorful “Potions” and “Starting Again,” the final track feels just like that: the finale. The setting of the sun, the final strike of lightning, the last stroke before breaking the surface of the water.
It’s the notes of finality in the piano, the somber sound, the rise and fall of a beating heart—a broken heart. Of leaving the only world you ever knew—ascending that cove of familiar promise and entering a world of waves you haven’t surfed, of days you haven’t lived.
Crush is the epitome of rain, of evergreen trees, of cloudy days and sunny ones, of the color green, and of days not lived and days yet to live.