whitney ballen – “rainier”

– featured image courtesy of sofia lee – 

on the off-chance that whitney ballen’s previous single, “go,” left any unanswered questions about her singularity, the washington songwriter’s follow-up solidifies her status as one of the most distinctive voices to emerge this year.  “rainier,” keeping with ballen’s theme of writing an extended ode to the pacific northwest, aches with nostalgia, a transmission of longing delivered in her unmistakeable soprano.

like its predecessor, “rainier” flourishes in the build-up to and execution of its refrain; ballen’s dead-simple admission of “i wish you were here” loops as a mantra, frankly framing the antecedent anecdotes and staging the track’s soaring, melismatic concession of “i’m sorry.”  a bucolic soundscape crests as ballen stretches out that apology, receding during verses and providing mournful slide guitar swoons before sprawling out into a vast, contemplative horn-driven bridge.  these tinges of americana align with those of melancholy, echoing the wistful vestiges of familiarity and permanence in an ever-changing life.

“rainier” is the second single off of you’re a shooting star, i’m a sinking ship, which will enjoy a joint release via father/daughter records and substitute scene on august 24th.  listen in below.


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