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Nobody captured the desolation and depression of life before and after the pandemic quite like Arlo Parks. Her Mercury Prize-winning debut, Collapsed In Sunbeams, was filled with embracing poetry over humbly arresting production and she’s been a gracious envoy as an important voice for a new generation. Now with “Softly,” the Grammy nominee has released her first new music of 2022 and it’s a welcome new addition to the Parks canon.
“‘Softly’ is a song about yearning,” Parks says in a statement. “About how fragile you feel in the dying days of a relationship when you’re still desperately in love. The song is about how it feels to brace yourself before the blow of a break up and reminisce about the days where it all felt luminous.”
For a song about protecting your emotions, it’s approached in upbeat fashion but enacted masterfully. In the clip directed by Zhang and Knight, she moves through a de-construction of New York City skyscrapers that dance around her like the desire for something unattainable. The directors explained that for them, it “explored the idea of wanting something that was once perfect to end in a gentle way, and we wanted to express this using the world surrounding Arlo.” They added they “loved the idea of something universally romantic being slowly stripped away throughout the film.”
Listen to and watch the video for “Softly” above.