English Singer-Songwriter Holly Rees Gets Real About Love On "Arms"
Holly Rees has a case of the feels. The good news is that she makes them sound damn good -- the bad news is that they're contagious.
It's fine, though, because they're not in-your-face. They're subtle, traveling through her gentle indie gems. The English singer-songwriter just dropped her sophomore EP, Slow Down, five quick acoustic tracks reflecting on the things we all know best: being young and traversing the lightness of love vs. climbing out of the darkness when the love runs out. The whole EP is worth many listens, but we want to spotlight "Arms," arguably the record's most underrated (and understated) song.
"Arms," as Holly tells it, is "about the idea of being really bitter about love until you find the next person you fall head over heels for and you just do the whole thing all over again. It's definitely one of the more romantic songs, and I've been asked before who it's about but it's not really about anyone in particular, it's just about the idea of still believing in love and this kind of 'hopeless romantic' brand of hopefulness that because you've felt something once, you know it exists and it's out there to feel again."
Holly explains it beautifully, but frankly, no explanation was needed because she already says it all in a four minute song. Opening with that quick acoustic strum, flavored by complex chords, "Arms" moves quickly into Holly's soft voice delivering these little moments of major realness and reflection. Above those quick strums, so sparse in the instrumental arrangement, she lobs endless poignancy, especially at the hook when she tells us that she believes in love because she's felt it, she believes in love because she's held it in her arms. When she hits the middle of the track, her voice is at its most tender, offering a breathy wisp of brutal epiphany -- "Maybe we'd be a good fit / We're both so bad at this" -- with a slight ache in her subdued vocals. There's not much to "Arms." It doesn't try to stand out or make a splash -- instead, it nestles itself into the coziness of the rest of the record, shy and unsure. What "Arms" doesn't know is that it's beautiful, a delicate example of acoustic goodness packaged so thoughtfully and tenderly with special attention to an earnest brand of songwriting that will take Holly farther than she thinks.