Singer-songwriter Laura Rafetseder describes herself on social media as a “Marxist musing ’bout the loneliness of our times and the oceans and fires below the surface.” This description hones in on one of Rafetseder’s greatest strengths as a songwriter: an unapologetic depth. Rafetseder is not afraid to plunge into the “oceans and fires” that live under her feet. As such, her song “Fallen Star” articulates both a cosmic love and an earthly responsibility, seemingly in the same breath.
The world keeps turning every day/She shuts her eyes and walks away/She moves along her only guide/The starlight
“Fallen Star” is the second track on Rafetseder’s album The Early Years. The album is a nostalgic project, recorded during a growing period for Rafetseder as she transitioned between projects. Although the album was recorded in 2007, it has only been released to the public since October 22nd. On “Fallen Star,” Rafetseder dazzles listeners with poignant lyrics set over simple, comforting guitar plucks. Her voice crackles through a bare, intimate soundscape, and embodies a tone somewhere between Adrianne Lenker and Joni Mitchell. There is a sugary brightness to her voice. It brings to mind campfires and crescent moons and skies that burn softly blue. The track has a distinctly “home-recorded” feel. This is emphasized by the lovingly clumsy harmonies and the uncomplicated production style. It truly does feel like a glimpse into Rafetseder’s past: innocent, gentle, hopeful.
She calls me, she calls me fallen star/She calls me, she calls me fallen star
The lyrics seem to depict a human in contact with something cosmic and divine, a life-force that perhaps represents the Earth itself. The refrain of “she calls me, she calls me” feels both like a holy christening and a call to action. The narrator is named after a fallen star — she is granted an identity bathed in flame and dust. But she is also being told, quite simply, “Come here.” The narrator is both granted identity, and being called upon. As a listener, I couldn’t help but wonder if in this play on words, Rafetseder implies that these two ideas are actually the same thing. Who you listen to matters. Who you respond to matters. What is a name, if not a signifier of what you believe in?
I find her in some foreign field/Her eyes are wry, her lips are sealed/She comes and lifts that foggy mind/With starlight
Laura Rafetseder shimmers in this nostalgic three-minute track. It’s a testament to both her musical growth and her natural ingenuity.