Normally I’m the kind of person who hones in on the lyrics when I first listen to a song. “Damselfly” was the exception to that rule. It was the yearning, jazzy background music that drew me into this track for Loyle Carner’s debut album Yesterday’s Gone. That’s not to say that the lyrics aren’t top of the line, though. They are. It’s just that you can’t resist the pull of the guitar that guides you into Carner’s dissection of love and loss.
While Carner may be “lacking the feelin’” for dating, he is not lacking the feeling in his delivery of lyrics that break down the feeling of dreaming of a love that just can’t work. Even the subtle background touches like the moment where we hear Carner get a text that he hopes is from the girl he is singing about – only to find it is just his friend -demonstrate Carner’s keen understanding of how to invoke emotion in his listeners.
Even the track’s placement in the album shows Carner’s knack for making the listener feel what he wants them to feel. It falls directly after the skit “+44” which has Carner lamenting a text he sent to a girl which he didn’t mean. “But now you feel a false starts got you calling your past,” Carner raps, setting the tone for the wistful but wary approach to love present in “Damselfly.”
Carner’s friend Tom Misch collaborates on the track, singing the chorus. The sultriness of Misch’s voice suggests that all hope is not lost for Carner and his girl. The combination of Carner’s rap and Misch’s vocals blur into a reminder of a late summer day when you know the fling you’ve enjoyed during the warm months must come to an end.
Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/LoyleCarner/