Haley Bonar – “I Can Change” (Stereogum Premiere)

Graham Tolbert

Haley Bonar – “I Can Change” (Stereogum Premiere)

Graham Tolbert

Haley Bonar has been releasing music under her own name for over a decade now, and she seems to get stronger with every iteration. Her next release is Impossible Dream, the follow-up to 2014’s Last War, and she made a concerted effort to write from a different perspective for each of the record’s 10 songs. Here’s how she lays it out:

Everybody wants a story. Something to sell. I’m here to tell you that there isn’t one with this album, at least in the traditional sense, but ten. Perhaps each of them contain more stories, sitting inside each other like nesting dolls. I could sit here and tell you that some of the songs are about growing up in the Black Hills. Some of the songs are about my parents. Some of the songs are about sexuality. Some of the songs are about loss of youth, teenage parenthood, the lines of social disorder for women, or the terror of jealousy and suspicion. But what I write is borne of my own set of memories and ideas, and once they are released into the world, they do not belong to me anymore. The interpretation is all yours, therefore these stories are yours. What I can tell you is this: My name is Haley Bonar (rhymes with “honor”). I’m 33 years old, a Taurus, and I live in Saint Paul, MN with my daughter Clementine. I also sing in a band called Gramma’s Boyfriend.

“I Can Change,” the record’s lead single, is all about breaking out of repeating patterns, as the title suggests, and Bonar’s voice takes on a steely resolve against the rolling, woodsy instrumentation that beckons for forward momentum. “I could be so happy if I let myself be happy,” she sings at one point. “But I’m too busy behaving for a crowd.” Listen below.

01 “Hometown”
02 “Your Mom Is Right”
03 “Kismet Kill”
04 “I Can Change”
05 “Stupid Face”
06 “Called You Queen”
07 “Jealous Girls”
08 “Skynz”
09 “Better Than Me”
10 “Blue Diamonds Fall”

Tour Dates:
06/18 Chicago, IL @ Green Fest
06/18 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean ^
06/25 Glenwood, WI @ Everwood Farmstead
10/21 Brighton, UK @ Green Door Store
10/22 Gateshead, UK @ The Sage *
10/23 Glasgow, UK @ The Hug & Pint
10/24 Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
10/26 London, UK @ Moth Club
10/28 Bristol, UK @ The Louisiana
10/29 Manchester, UK @ The Ritz *

* w/ Field Music
^ w/ Jessica Lee Mayfield

Impossible Dream is out 8/5 via GNDWIRE/Thirty Tigers in the US, Spit Comet in Canada, and Memphis Industries in the UK and Europe.

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