One of the things I miss most about college is the house shows we used to go to. I have a soft spot for anything that sounds like it could be at home in a sweaty basement, so with all the love in the world, I suggest to you the song “Keep Me Safe” by talker.
This song works for me on two levels. The first, as aforementioned, is sonically. “Keep Me Safe” is the sort of lo-fi scorcher that would kill in a small venue or at a house show. The driving riffs keep the intense lyrics from weighing too heavily on the listener. It’s as danceable as it is sad, which is a trickier balance to achieve than one might believe. talker’s delivery of the lyrics deviates a bit from the gravely monotones of other lo-fi bands. Her voice is much more easily compared to the likes of the bedroom pop act Clario than it is to CBMC or Radiator Hospital. The mix of sweet sincerity with the heavy drums and guitar makes for a really enjoyable contrast.
The lyrics of this song are the second selling point.
“I just want you to be happy, but I don’t know where that leaves me.
Yeah, I just want you to be happy, but I don’t want you to leave me.”
This chorus is simple, but oh man, does it cut deep. Wanting badly not to need someone who might be better off without you is not an enviable position to be in, and yet, it’s a relatable one. talker doesn’t go into great detail on “Keep Me Safe,” the listener never learns the circumstances of the relationship in the lyrics. But, the sparseness doesn’t inhibit our understanding of the pain behind the lyrics. talker’s delivery is dripping in honesty. This sincerity makes up for the lack of specificity in spades, it makes room for the listener to fill in the blanks with their own memories.
“The clock is ticking down, like a hammer to my skull.
And I can’t stop it now. It’s like the harder that I pull, the shorter every minute seems.
Counting ‘til the moment that you leave.”
There are plenty of breakup songs about being better off without an ex. There are plenty more about bad breakups of almost every variety. However, “Keep Me Safe” feels like a rarity. It’s a pre-breakup breakup song, a lament for love not yet lost. It’s positioned in the moment before the, “I’m leaving you.” I can easily imagine singing (and maybe even crying) along to this track in a compact crowd, bumping elbows with strangers just as moved as me. Definitely give “Keep Me Safe” a listen. If you’ve ever had your feelings hurt, it’s probably in your best interest.