After an impressive showing with “Seeing Red,” Hayes returns tonight with “Leave It At That.” Once again, the 23 year old (happy birthday, Hayes!) showcases how wildly vast her talent is, this time taking listeners on a journey through the emotional trials and tribulations that stem from an imbalanced and unrequited relationship.
“Leave It At That” immediately pulls you in thanks to the powerful force of the opening instrumentation, making it clear Hayes’ audience is in for an emotionally stirring ride. Before long, the production gives way to the CT-bred artist’s emotive vocals that float in their position between vigorously front-stage and softly sunken in the back. This intricate layering of the voice creates a wonderful sense of dimension within the confines of the track, adding depth to the story as Hayes begins to spread her head, heart and sense of self across the soundscape.
While “Seeing Red” carried with it some semblance of pop tendencies, “Leave It At That” is far more in-your-face indie rock. And, man, as soon as the production erupts, it works so well with the energy radiating from Hayes. There’s a bit of rage and frustration emanating from the instrumentation, but it’s quickly balanced with the presence of Hayes’ airy, accepting vocals. From front to back, this joint feels like Hayes is accompanied by a full band as the different sounds forge together into an explosive and cohesive record. Maybe it’s my live music withdrawal acting up but every time I play this song, I can’t help but close my eyes and picture Hayes on stage, rocking through “Leave It At That” with her band behind her. Until then, this one makes for perfect mosh-around-your-room music.
At the young age of 23, Hayes displays a keen sense of maturity and self-awareness throughout “Leave It At That.” It’s clear she’s experiencing, feeling and sitting with a range of emotion – anyone who has played the role of giving their all in a relationship only to receive no support in return will relate. But she stands unabashed in her power, finally recognizing the necessity of cutting ties with the toxic relationship. It’s not always easy to process and make sense of these situations or feelings, but Hayes lifts herself up, dusts herself off and turns it all into a vibrant record. Rather than continue the cycle of being pulled back in, the songstress – who also produced the track alongside Matthew Cyr – reminds herself to “keep it short, don’t reminisce.” Who hasn’t overlooked the negative simply because the faint glimmer of good memories started creeping in through the darkness? To recognize this and then go on to actually apply it in your own life is an admirable feat. Even more admirable, Hayes remains compassionate and understanding throughout the record. She isn’t pointing fingers, calling names or getting angry, no matter how justified those reactions may be. Instead, she wishes the best, cuts the ties that bind her to the in-between relationship and proclaims her desire to leave it at that.
“Leave It At That” is available now on all your favorite streaming platforms.