“I hope you’ll find me worth coming back to,” sings Lila Blue on the final verse of her latest single, “Simple Song.” It’s a straightforward sentiment for sure, but the New York indie-folk singer-songwriter’s performance of the line is anything but simple. Lila Blue sounds coy and alluring, but her voice also reveals her anxiety — what if her lover doesn’t come home? What if he can’t? Anyone who has ever waited by the window on a long night in quiet, nervous solitude (and haven’t we all?) will immediately sympathize with the narrator’s longing, disquiet, sense of destabilization, and fragility – and her patience.
“Simple Song” is the central track on Not Yet, the most recent project from the ambitious and prolific young songwriter. The four-song EP is Lila Blue at her most intimate and confessional – and given the candid emotional quality of her prior recordings, that’s really saying something. She’s pared her music back to its essential roots: mesmerizing acoustic guitar patterns, resonant piano chords, and her own hushed, endlessly expressive voice, sometimes double-tracked, sometimes augmented by beautiful harmonies from friends Damon Daunno and Gabriel Ebert.
The economy and emotional intensity of Not Yet reflect the circumstances surrounding its creation. Lila Blue wrote and recorded these songs during some of the toughest days of the pandemic on her bathroom floor. “Simple Song” is a love story, but it’s also quite clearly about the experience we’ve all had: a chronicle of a time of separation, forced repose, and longing for togetherness. Call it a salve for loneliness and a cry across the void, and you won’t be exaggerating.
The closing sequence of the “Simple Song” video re-creates the pose on the cover of the Not Yet EP: Lila Blue on a bare city rooftop, seated in a chair with her shoulders back and her dignity intact, with a single floor lamp holding back the twilight. Her posture suggests waiting; her facial expression broadcasts uncertainty, loneliness, and hard-won strength. It’s a stark and beautiful image, and the rest of “Simple Song,” directed by Samantha Soule, is similarly winsome. Lila Blue plays guitar and sings in a spare apartment, telling her story to an impassive partner, played by the track’s other vocalist Gabriel Ebert. Simultaneously a pair of dancers, Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Grant, echo the song’s sentiments in their complex and intertwined movements. Everything about the clip feels like anticipation — the held breath before a joyful reunion or a tearful goodbye.