serpentwithfeet Finds Faith in Love on 'bless ur heart'
Love songs often disappoint me when love is rendered worldly: contained, wrapped up in the vainglorious boasting of two little lives, echoing forth into nothing but themselves. These songs elicit my doubt; they are seemingly reductive for a feeling and an act that should otherwise feel immeasurable. Love songs that are expansive, that realize something close to the divine – those I want to trust.
Earlier this morning, I was met by the sweet bliss of a love song like this. serpentwithfeet, whose given name is Josiah Wise, has released a new single titled ‘bless ur heart.’ It is the kind of mesmerizing track that makes me want to flower across my bed, eyes closed, ready for transcendence to overtake me. ‘bless ur heart’ is ethereal from the start: a metallic hum rises, warmed by a sparse, resonating piano and fluttering drums thumping underway like anxious heartbeats. Then there is Wise’s voice, his speedy vibrato an ecstasy. He muses, “will my psalms seek the company of lonely breathes? / Will they inspire subtle lovers to kiss with mouths they don't have yet?” His verses spread forth into wonderment, pondering the love that will exist beyond the song itself.
‘bless ur heart’ is the first taste of his upcoming debut album soil, described as “a return to the sensibilities and wide-eyed curiosity of his musical youth.” Here, Wise is summoning his roots, fusing his intertextual DIY spirit with the sonorous church sounds of his childhood in Baltimore. ‘bless ur heart’ catapults, then, into a kind of avant-gospel prayer. His voice blossoms over the chorus, multi-tracked – a congregation of his own making, as he urges himself and his listener to “Keep a tender heart.” It is this insistent message, this embrace of vulnerability, that allows the song to unfurl.
Wise declares, “What was once a whisper will become a deep rumbling sound,” and what follows is the Rapture – a final chorus where Wise finally sets loose his sacred, queer love. Layered chants threaten to whisk into a total trance as he lilts, “Boy, thank you for showing me how to be gentle –” it is the sound of gratitude, right before he affirms “I have courage to share your love boldly.” This blessed admission is ours to witness and share; a hymn for love’s glorious force, once set free.
Of ‘bless ur heart,’ Wise writes “it was time to undress some of my hesitations.” He has done exactly that – this is serpentwithfeet without limitations, relishing in his truth. We are blessed to hear it, too.
Check out 'bless ur heart' below. soil is out June 8th, 2018.