There was a time when music that expressed some sort of doubt about self or depression about one’s actions was relegated to the likes of Linkin Park or Three Days Grace. However, as the times have changed, we have gotten our new style of songs about self-examination and dissatisfaction about what one finds. This is where HEIGHTS comes in.
HEIGHTS is a young musician just starting out in the music scene – her YouTube channel only has two songs uploaded on it currently: “Let Me Show You,” and the one I’m talking about today, “Let Down.” If you want a sensory experience that fits HEIGHTS’ lo-fi persona, I would definitely recommend watching the music video when listening to the song. If you need to understand HEIGHTS’ musical philosophy when it comes to aesthetics, there’s no better place to start (or go watch some Marina videos; you can’t go wrong with either choice).
The opening synth notes are anticipatory and very Blade Runner, an aesthetic I’ve always loved. But then HEIGHTS’ voice comes in and wow, her voice blows me away. She has the same kind of quality to her voice as Halsey and Melanie Martinez have: contemplative and sad, only amplified by the sparse percussion and instrumentation.
HEIGHTS sings of letting someone down. But not just anyone: letting yourself down, which is probably something we’ve all felt but which isn’t really explored in much music or storytelling. This is probably because it’s much harder to portray or write about inner struggles than external ones. How many times have you heard a love song about someone begging for their love to come back, that they’ll be better this time, that they’ve learned and are better people for it.
Yet HEIGHTS says,
“I’ve let myself down,
No way to come back now,
I’ve reached where I am bound,
Nowhere else to go, no way out,
I’ve lost myself somehow,
Lost inside this crowd.”
This is not just a plea for help, this is an admission of one’s own faults and that while you’re trying to find a solution that you really have no idea what you’re doing and that that may have to be how it is for a while. That there is very little hope right now.
“Every time I try,
I fall just a little bit more,
I put myself on trial,
And it hurts a little bit more,
Every time a little bit more.”
The bridge is a condemnation on HEIGHTS’ feelings of her own screw-ups, bringing a feeling of exhausted self-examination. That she knows that what she’s doing is wrong, both the actions that lead to her “trial” but also the “trial” itself are unhealthy yet she sees no way out and no way to stop her self-destructive thoughts and actions.
HEIGHTS has crafted a song about self-loathing that still feels smooth and vibe-worthy. It’s not often that songs about this kind of turmoil bring chilled out beats for watching your fan spiral with them.