As the first single following the 2016 release of her debut album Don’t Look Her in the Eye (which I heartily recommend), “The Wolf is Back” is a worthy introduction into this new era of Lauren King music. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting with bated breath for her next single – but the wait is over! A wolf howl and a bluesy slide guitar open up this new song full of wisdom and new perspectives from the other side of coming-of-age. Like a warm summer breeze, the title track of her upcoming sophomore album takes the listener on the narrative journey of girlhood and getting your heart broken in myriad ways.
“Music has always been my way of communicating with others, connecting ideas, and helping those in need.”
– Lauren King
In a gorgeous royal blue trench coat in the woods, current-day Lauren meets her younger self. A montage of two versions of herself bonding over shared experiences and dreams greets the viewer, with gorgeous vocal harmonies and clever lyrics populating the soundscape. A prominent bass line tracks well against the poppy rhythm and the pensive lyrics. Reminiscent of early Fleetwood Mac and Jewel, Lauren’s music mimics the classics while still bringing her own signature style to the genre.
“Mother I think I broke my own heart” and “is there any kind of medicine for this / for all the heartache and the mistakes / is it too late to come back to myself yet?” are gorgeous examples of Lauren’s songwriting skills. This feeling of inadequacy and insecurity are unfortunate things that seem to crop up at any age. Paired with the uncomfortable feeling of dissociating from your past self, this song beautifully illustrates these struggles in a fresh-faced format.
My favorite line of this song is probably “give me some kind of sign / that I’m doing all right” because it’s so incredibly relatable to anyone just trying to find their way in life. Lauren’s blatant honesty and bravery to address the struggles experienced by countless people of all ages is powerful, and this concept video brings these feelings to the forefront in an aesthetically pleasing way.
There is a twist at the very end when the parents of her younger self run into the forest to find their daughter, and instead find grown-up Lauren in her place. It remains unclear whether it was present-day Lauren the whole time reflecting on her life, or if it was the younger Lauren who returned to her family — just with a more mature perspective. Regardless, the development of her character is a beautiful story straight out of a Bridge to Terabithia-inspired fairytale.
I especially appreciated the surprising connection between wolves and growing up. The first time I heard the title of this song before listening to it, I was half expecting some kind of high-octane girl-power anthem à la Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.” And it’s still an anthem, but definitely not the vibe I was expecting – and that’s for the best. Sometimes you just gotta howl at the moon – but Lauren does this more figuratively through this beautiful and poignant song. It’s gentle in its severity, but incredibly powerful in its undeniable humanity.
“Tell me this pain is a blessing / and there’s pain in the lesson” is something that needs to be tattooed or at least plastered on merch for the new album. Lyrics like this take universal issues and cover them with the healing balm of understanding – definitely something we could all use these days. Mixing the gritty with the elegant, and the reality with the glittering forest dreamscape, this song ends the way it began – with a wolf’s howl. The circularity of the song mimics the repetitions of life lessons — the way the same struggles always have a funny way of coming back around before they’re vanquished for good.
If you’re looking for new music that makes your heart sing even while it’s broken, look no further than Lauren King – she is an undeniable superstar just waiting for the world to bask in her sunshine.
Lauren King’s full album The Wolf is Back will be out soon, but in the meantime, follow her social medias for updates!