“Spell,” the A-side to Emily Reo’s new 10″, was our favorite song of the week when it came out earlier this month, and today she’s sharing the release’s flip side, another haunting track called “Stronger Swimmer.” Reo explains the inspiration behind the song to Nylon as such:
I wrote ‘Stronger Swimmer’ after reading a short story about a woman who was in an abusive relationship. In the story, she and her partner were canoeing when their boat capsized — he didn’t know how to swim, but she was a great swimmer and she decided to leave him behind. Something about that imagery stuck with me, imagining her being in the cold water at dusk and having to suddenly make the decision to save herself, in multiple ways… ‘Stronger Swimmer’ is organized chaos — it’s about taking all of the overwhelming turmoil in your life and transforming it into a source of personal power.
The sound of burbling water echoes throughout the song as Reo takes on the protagonist’s role in the story and tries to make a split-second decision as to what to do. It feels as though time has slowed down, and when her voice speeds up it comes across as a rush of emotions: “Your anger is burning, but the only things I can think about are your grip and your grin,” she sings. “Did anyone else see our boat flip?” she wonders, her words stretched out like she’s looking around and weighing the consequences of her actions. “I think that I’m gonna let you stay,” Reo decides, and the full gravity of that is felt throughout the song, but there’s also a sense of immense relief. “Stronger Swimmer” is evocative and powerful, and you should listen below.
The “Spell” / “Stronger Swimmer” 10″ is out now via Orchid Tapes.