Availability: digital download. ‘Internalised’ is from the band’s forthcoming EP ‘(De)humanise’.
Many of us have particular songs where we might say: “That’s the one that helped get me through ……. (insert the bad time of your choice)”. People might mention The Beautiful South’s ‘I’ll sail this ship alone‘ about relationship breakdown. They might cite Jen Cloher’s ‘Sensory Memory‘ about enduring the separation of long distance relationships, or her powerful ‘Watch me disappear‘ about bereavement. And of course there is Tom Robinson’s epoch making ‘Glad to be Gay‘.
These songs, and others like them are important. They are not just entertainment; they are not even just art. They are life affirming, with an ability to reach into our darkest days and somehow make our world just that little bit better. They show the listener they are not alone: that someone else has been through what they are suffering and, most importantly, has survived.
Every now and then you hear a new song that you know is going to become another of these special treasures, and folk duo Naz and Ella’s new single ‘Internalised‘ is one. It deals with internalised homophobia, and the fear, doubts and internal pressures that so many face before coming out as LGBTQ+, even to themselves. In fact it can sometimes be that the most difficult person to come out to is yourself, because most of us have been so conditioned to want to fit a cisheteronormative social model, and fear punishment and rejection even from our nearest and dearest if we don’t comply. As a result, the lyrics will remind many of their own agonising, but they end in triumph and will hopefully encourage others to feel able to reach for the same release. They show someone, first doubting, but then coming to terms with who they are and who they love, and finally becoming able to express true joy and pride in both.
Of course a song like this will only work if it’s good musically: if it has that quality to make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up, and this does. From the gentle opening guitar line to the closing liberation expressed in the lyric: “I feel the shame melt away”, this is a thing of quiet power and beauty which slowly evolves from that simple intro towards more complex vocal harmonies and instrumental backing, and with clever use of EBow to give a different feel than a synth or violin might have managed as an addition to the guitars. Again though, ‘Internalised’ is more than a lovely and intelligently constructed piece of music. This song has the power to free minds or even save lives. Every young LGBTQ+ person should hear it to know they are not the only one to go through this, and every cis/straight person should listen to it carefully and empathise.
Top Image, Naz & Ella, Photo: the band.
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