The space between trees. Fields of meadowsweet. Craggy cliffs slick with sea spray. Clarissa Connelly’s October 2020 release “Holler” will take you to each of these places – and you may not want to leave.
If you’re near why don’t you come by/Or do I need to holler?
“Holler” is both a whimsical and unsettling track. It’s a study of contradictions, simultaneously an exploration of movement and stillness, of light and dark, of here and there. The piano bobs up and down like it’s floating in a river. A flute scribbles overhead. The vocals drift in and out of focus. It’ll make your skin prickle.
I’ll keep trying/When you try to holler
The music video features close ups of hair and teeth, as well as masks that glitter under the ripples of a creek. Like the song, these images are both unsettling and mesmerizing. This contradiction, I believe, is the crux of this song’s power: it embodies paradox, contains multitudes, holds many conflicting truths at the same time. It produces a nearly spiritual effect. Another strength lies in the song’s insistent uniqueness, its refusal to conform – the song seems to resist even against itself, the soundscape constantly shifting beneath itself while the vocalist stands still, looks you in the eye, and tells you a story.
You’re here/I thought you’re someone else
Perhaps the most central contradiction of the song is the disconnect between the lyrics and the soundscape. The lyrics seem to describe a relationship between the speaker and a character who continuously leaves and returns, “hollering” when they return get the speaker’s attention. This frustrated love story, while intriguing, feels worlds away from the eerie, earthy soundscape. And this contrast feels – at least to me – intentional. Maybe we’re meant to ponder the relationship between our material and spiritual lives. Maybe the marriage of these contradictions can lead us to understand better how to live.
But I’m here/Won’t you make me come back?
In terms of overall structure, the song doesn’t do much. There’s no rise and fall, no build and break. It’s tense, all the way through. The intimacy of this tension makes you feel like you’re witnessing a secret ritual – or like you’re eavesdropping on a prayer between the vocalist and the earth.
“Holler” is both intimate and detached, honest and guarded, gentle and defiant. Listening to it feels like walking barefoot in the forest – the pinch of pine needles beneath your toes, the warm sunlight pooling on your back, the sense of stillness, of security – of certainty that this world was made with and for you.