Petal – “Tightrope”

Petal’s 2015 debut album, Shame, often inhabited the mindset of that particular emotion, the process of looking outward inwardly. On Kiley Lotz’s follow-up, Magic Gone — due out next month — the Pennsylvania-based musician is no less introspective, but that deep look inside is paired with songwriting that feels more crystallized and urgent. That might be due to the circumstances surrounding the album’s creation — half of it was written before entering a mental health recovery program and the other half was written while in treatment.

Those two halves are delineated on the album itself, separated into Tightrope Walker and Miracle Clinger. Lead single “Better Than You” and Petal’s latest song, “Tightrope,” both come from the first side of the album, and both have to do with putting on a front, aching for the right words to describe how you’re feeling put never quite reaching them. That dichotomy, of walking a fine line and clinging to hope, is pervasive on Lotz’s new track.

“I felt an ancient scream come out of my mouth,” she sings on “Tightrope,” the clarity she’s seeking subsumed by something more primal. The song’s central phrase — “The truth is just a piece of coal dressed as gold” — recurs like a curse, that elusive Big Answer never feeling satisfying enough. The realization that the Big Answer doesn’t really exist is a far-off revelation; here, that hope is still alive and burning bright.

Here’s how Lotz frames the track:

I was working at a pizza place last summer in my hometown and had a particularly long day. I was driving home and felt exhausted and tired. My weeks at that point were working two jobs and therapy multiple times a week. I saw what looked like this massive fireball in the sky that night and it just went away. I remember being totally captivated and completely apathetic at the same time. At that time I felt pretty hurt by my past and present. I was holding myself to this extremely high standard of accountability for the difficulties I had in my life, but feeling angry at the people who hurt me and I know will never say it. I wanted to appear graceful and insightful to the people around me while processing these things, but if I felt I failed at that, I would be pretty hard on myself.

Listen below.

06/20 Philadelphia, PA @ Philamoca #^
06/21 Philadelphia, PA @ Philamoca #*
06/22 Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class #*
06/23 Lansing, MI @ Three Stacks Festival #*
06/24 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen #*
06/26 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry #*
06/27 Madison, WI @ High Noon Entry #*
06/29 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre #*
06/30 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court #*
07/02 Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project #*
07/03 Portland, OR @ Holocene #*
07/05 San Francisco, CA @ The Rickshaw Shop #~
07/06 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre #~
07/07 Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room #~
07/08 La Jolla, CA @ Che Café #~
07/09 Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge #~
07/11 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada #~
07/12 Austin, TX @ Barracuda #~
07/13 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall #~
07/15 Orlando, FL @ Soundbar #~
07/16 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade #~
07/17 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room #~
07/18 Washington, DC @ DC9 #~
07/19 Asbury Park, NJ @ House of Independents #~
07/20 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom #~
07/21 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair #~
07/22 Philadelphia, PA @ The Other Side #^
10/29 Cologne, DE @ Studio 672
10/30 Hamburg, DE @ Turmzimmer
10/31 Berlin, DE @ Musik & Frieden
11/02 Haldern, DE @ Haldern Pop Bar
11/03 Brussels, BE @ AB Salon
11/06 Brighton, UK @ Hope & Ruin
11/07 London, UK @ The Islington
11/09 Bristol, UK @ Crofters
11/11 Birmingham, UK @ Hare & Hounds
11/12 Manchester, UK @ Gullivers
11/13 Leeds, UK @ Oporto
11/14 Glasgow, UK @ Hug & Pint
# w/ Camp Cope
^ w/ Slingshot Dakota
* w/ Oceanator
~ w/ Sidney Gish

Magic Gone is out 6/15 via Run For Cover Records. Pre-order it here.

Tags: Petal