Without You is a perfect archetype for a well-crafted song; atmospheric beyond words. It’s a world-building five minutes of beauty that whisks you away to another time and place; a mystical, far away kingdom.
“[Without You is a] world-building five minutes of beauty that whisks you away to another time and place.”
Without You is a cyclical track, which seems to delay any anthemic catchiness from arising — which is refreshing, to say the least. It’s simply not catchy as a song; it has no broad, rising choruses or bridges for masses to scream along to at one of her presumably spellbinding gigs. Rather, it’s wistful, ethereal and nostalgic, managing to capture the emotions of blissful, halcyon memories as well as — after a sudden chord change halfway through, offering suddenly sinister undertones — melancholic glimpses of sadness. And because of this, it manages to convey the passing of time perfectly while making the world stand still.
Chloe described the song as one about grief and the loss of someone you care about: “it talks of the struggles of the person who passes away and then couples that with the exploration of grieving and how it changes from being the worst thing in the world one minute, to possibly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in the end, and how grief changes with the seasons.”
A song about grief and dealing with it, on the surface, may seem a little clichéd. It’s an important issue, but perhaps not unique. What Chloe manages to do is paint her own perfect stance on this topic.
“Without You is simply superb, another example of Chloe being one of the leaders of our next generation of folk writers.”
For one, the lyrics are incredibly heartfelt and bittersweet. But when combined with the music — the ever ebbing and swelling music that genuinely becomes the changing of seasons — it takes on a life of its own. Its lilting beginning and ending become the springs and summers of the year, (helped along by some gently twittering bird song), bringing light and hope to the song and the overwhelming feeling of depression and grief expressed by Chloe; the menacing middle, then, is allowed to act as a conceit for the Winter, it’s overbearing darkness reflecting moments of hardship and pain in the grieving process.
In terms of the overall sound of the track, it wouldn’t sound out of place in a musical, or sang by travelling bards around a fire, or — a rather specific example that was the first thought upon first listening — played over the fire-watching scene in The Chronicles Of Narnia. That haunting flute music over the dancing flames could easily be replaced by this track, which is a truly enchanting song.
“[Without You evokes] emotion upon every listen, the ability to convey human feeling both lyrically and musically.”
Chloe has the confidence to know that Without You might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. And it might ultimately be a footnote in a playlist or two, one to listen to every so often as something to make you smile, or laugh, or cry, and that’s okay. And it might not get much radio play but what is does do is evoke emotion upon every listen, the ability to convey human feeling both lyrically and musically.