Poppy love songs don’t typically send listeners down an introspective rabbit hole. J. Luke Cloutier’s debut single, “Drown,” bucks that convention entirely.
“Drown” weaves a narrative that betrays – or perhaps celebrates – a worldliness and maturity indicative of a person well beyond the age of 23. It tells the story of a relationship past, present and future, and the wants, needs, uncertainties and hope that come along with it.
The opening acoustic notes prep the listener for two-and-a-half minutes of standard, upbeat indie folk. Seconds in, maintaining that melodic catchiness, the opening lyrics and verse are jarringly raw and self-aware, Cloutier acknowledging not only that at times he takes his partner for granted in pursuit of his own wants, but that he is aware of this, the pain it causes and the charade of aloofness that accompanies it on both ends.
There’s a pervasive awareness to Cloutier’s lyrics as he time hops from future to past to present in the chorus, subsequent verse and bridge. The chorus is a selfish, loving plea, an almost-nostalgia for a future in which he will need his partner to save him. This awareness of a future not worthy of his present is the crux of the song, and will stick with listeners as they continue to hear this story and contemplate their own relationships.
The song finishes with an honest acknowledgement bridging past and future in the present, that Cloutier needs his partner, just as he has and will, and hints at a reciprocation that makes this support and love earned.
Cloutier has been playing guitar since the age of six, and began recording songs he’d written throughout his life in 2018. “Drown” is his first single and a stellar sampling of his instrumental acumen and lyrical stylings. Dropping today, January 24th, you can find the single on SoundCloud.