listen: “storm before”

Genevieve Miles’ “Storm Before,” starts with a simmer. In fact, I’m not sure it would be fair to characterize the song as only “starting” with a simmer; it is the word embodied, swooning and building under a surface of coy composure. The guitar tone feels like a small, anxious tell, Miles’ poker face betrayed by the subtle tap of a finger on the veneer of an oaken table. Despite the throb of the lyrical content, her voice is an azimuth dancing across Carlos de los Santos’ crooning production, scattering and emerging like waves of light. The song’s denouement rests in the refrain, “loving you is so, so simple,” but the crook in Miles’ voice reveals the pain that comes from returning to these words after the cycles of learning and growth that the speaker has experienced.

I have been an enthusiastic (and then very reluctant) Smiths fan since my dad showed me Hatful of Hollow in the fifth grade, and while I rarely retreat to the comfort of that particular musical haunt due to the shame that listening to Morrissey elicits in me, they remain the band that introduced me to one of my favorite musical approaches: extremely sad songs with upbeat, captivating melodies and guitar riffs. Genevieve Miles emerges with a unique vision for this technique, weaving sultry guitars and honeyed vocals into a shapeshifter, at turns belying and divulging the pain and healing that have ossified within.

Genevieve Miles’ music is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, and to purchase on Bandcamp. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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