In My Feelings: Paige Temperley’s New Single “Hold”
There’s a quote from the famous musical The Producers in which a character shouts, “If your intention was to shoot an arrow through my heart…BULLSEYE!!!” I cannot think of a better way to describe what Paige Temperley has done to me with her new single, “Hold”, which will be released on July 5th. Quoting a comedy is better than admitting that I almost openly wept upon listening to this track for the first time…though I suppose I just did that. Okay. I almost cried when I first listened to “Hold,” but we’ll get to that later.
You’ll remember reading Paige’s name on Rhapsody in Reverie’s music reviews of old, as she is half of the indie-folk duo Tall Shaves. I’ve raved about them many times, loving their bright, upbeat, and folksy feel. But Paige Temperley’s solo work, though still indie, leans a little more towards the dark side. If Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush, and Fiona Apple were to somehow have a three-way baby, you’d come close to Paige Temperley. I was very surprised by the difference in her vocals here as opposed to her work in Tall Shaves, as she is, more often than not, the airy, bright side of the vocals. Here Paige is raw, sometimes gravelly, and full of a growing melancholy balanced only by the constant reassurance that “You’ve just got to hold it together for a while.” It begins with a piano that sounds strong, simple, and clean. Though it only dances between a few chords, the music really does…well…strike a chord. As it progresses, drums begin to beat, and I can’t help but associate it with a buildup of emotions, of how your heart races a little as you push your need to cry deep down inside. Of course, Paige’s vocal range shines in the chorus of “oohs,” in a beautiful hint of what’s to come in the climax of the song. It has an almost ethereal feel that both laments and uplifts, a comfort either way.
Maybe this song affected me so strongly because I felt that, for a straight ten seconds, Paige had somehow gained access to my diary and put it to some haunting melody. Maybe I felt that the song sounded like somebody who understood what it’s like to be the rock that friends and family seek out in a storm, but who can’t seek help from those people in turn. “Build yourself up like steel/Because there’s someone who needs you right now” had me feeling a type of way. Maybe Mercury is in retrograde or something, I don’t know. All I know is that I needed this song, right at this exact point in my life, and I know many of you do too. It’s both a helping hand, telling you to dust yourself off and pick yourself up, and a tender hug from someone that says, “you’re going to be fine eventually.” It’s one thing to tell yourself that. It’s another to hear it in a song, exactly when you need to hear it…like magic.
Though this song hits you where it hurts, it’s just as potent a message of hope as it is a way to vent. We may be struggling under the weight of the burden, but it will not be carried forever. There’s a light, somewhere, within reach. “Time is a healer/And how you feel will slowly subside.” In my experience, this lyric is usually proven true. When I least expect it, there’s a break in the undertow, and I’m able to swim to shore.
I admit, I was expecting a sort of slightly more subdued Tall Shaves song, and what I got instead was a wildly different, beautifully crafted, and wonderfully independent work. Paige Temperley has proven herself to be a master of the craft of songwriting, especially when it comes to perfectly capturing a feeling so abstract as this in a song so beautifully. I can’t wait to hear more from her, even if I must hold on just a little bit longer for the EP.