Claire Frances sings the titular words of this song only twice, saving them for the opening and closing verses: “At least we escaped the rabbit hole.” Book-ended in this way, the narrative is clear. “Rabbit Hole,” the latest single from the Irish singer-songwriter, who was born in the UK and raised in Switzerland, is a slow burn of a breakup song. Frances paints a clear image of fading romance, a love that once seemed invincible but was always doomed to fail.
It’s really not all sad and miserable, I promise. In fact, when the song first begins, the breezy, folksy guitar lilts might have you believing you’re about to hear a cozy tale of idyllic love. France’s warm vocals wrap around you like a blanket as she sings. “Walking home from the movies / You took my hand,” she begins nostalgically, but her next words reveal hidden turmoil: “And you threw me down a rabbit hole.” Suddenly the nostalgia feels more like painful memories, the folksy chords feeling more like a hand brushing away hot tears.
Sometimes, the breakups that hurt the most are the ones when it seemed like nothing terrible really happened. “I had to let you go…we were both doomed to fall,” Frances admits. Some relationships have obvious, natural endings. Take your partner cheating on you; what feels like a deep stab can numb your pain to the end. But some relationships are more like tiny cuts that add up day after day, until you realize one day you’ve put with more pain than it’s worth. “I know you never meant to do me harm / But honey you’ve been slowly breaking my heart,” she confesses, her voice somehow both pained and sympathetic, mirroring the musical and lyrical theme of the song.
True to the slow burn style, it’s the ending of “Rabbit Hole” that perhaps hits the hardest: “I’m sorry that we’re losing out / On all those hopes and dreams that we built.” Life isn’t fair; it’s not always pretty and it certainly isn’t ever easy. But there’s something about once awesome and now broken hopes and dreams that seems to pierce the heart extra deep, an aching wound warning against investing so much time in a relationship that was never going to work. Yet, Claire Frances remains self-assured, offering a comforting hand to anyone who needs it. After all, “at least we escaped the rabbit hole.”
“Rabbit Hole” brings all the feels, with folksy guitar accompaniment and unflustered melodies that betray slow-burning pain. It’s not a traditionally structured song, but it is remarkably effective. Whether you want to assume the fetal position and weep or frolic blissfully through a sunny meadow, the song lands—Claire Frances seems in her element here.