Gidea invokes a tarot card to describe the release of her first single, Intrepid Traveler:

The Fool

It’s a bit on the nose; The Fool is the beginning of the major arcana cards (as it sounds: the “Big Deal” cards), representing the naive, cup-overfloweth enthusiasm of a new life cycle. Much like the Fool, Gidea encapsulates the feeling of this beginning as an “Intrepid Traveler”.

The intro of the single is light – a curiosity – like a rustle of wind in the bushes, the brush of a hand against your own, and suddenly – it grips you, dragging you from the eaves of the forest into the thicket. The sharp, staccato drags of the cello give a bright, Celtic dance to the song that reminisces to frolicking fairies, forest elves, and many manner of mythic creatures. The generous, sweeping vocal harmonies are ornately bordered by slides & plucks along the harp.

New and unusual
My dreams are having me
The world tipsy turny
What is happening?

Like Alice in Wonderland, the narrator enters a new world of strange epiphany and realization. The chorus, an invocation of love, sounds like a mantra of hope from the natural world, the spirits themselves speaking back. “Love is free, you’re free to love” is its liberating message.

As much as it may seem difficult to describe the sound, it’s even harder to compare; I’m reminded of the great ethereal mix of Japanese Breakfast’s “Glider“, the unapologetic breadth of Enya’s new age Celtic pop, the folk lyricism of a First Aid Kit, Paper Kites, My Brightest Diamond. But none of these are quite right, and just elements of similarities less than encompassing genres.

Gidea’s own influences give a little insight – Joanna Newsom, Sufjan Stevens, Linda Perhacs – but even their influence is illuminated best in her vocal timbre, capable of soft runs, as well those high, ringing notes that elongate a melodic line with the delicate strength of a brilliant ray of light.

Not to mention the haze of neo-psychedelia that weaves through the song, particularly in its hypnotic flow and repeating lines.

“What’s real now seems quite fake
Take me on a journey further
My spirit is guiding
The now is yours to take

There is an alarming burst of positivity in the arrangement, daring in a world of music often drowned in melancholy, scepticism, and callous mystery. Rather, this song is all about casting aside shadows of doubt, of offering the simple divine epiphany of love-conquers-all, truth-will-be-revealed, Earth-will-heal hope.

It’d be easy to be jaded. Roll my eyes, say something about nuance, about how “love” isn’t such a helpful answer to the world’s ills.

It’s in this moment that Gidea breaks her repetition, slowing down. “I am floating in a stream, floating, floating in a stre-e-e-am…” comes the swirl of meditative sound, an image of light dazzling the surface of water. By the time the sharp beat of the cello comes back in, even I – in my mist of cynicism – cannot help but have my heart soar to sing along.

“I am an intrepid traveler
My mind is unwinding…”

The thing is, being the intrepid traveler – the Fool – isn’t an easy job.

My friend just pulled this card for a career reading last week, and basically it’s a clarion call to quit and start from scratch. Put some applications out, untangle the web of “success” or “stability” he felt before, and follow all his messy passions. It means facing the judgement of others, to be viewed as silly, irresponsible, and simple-minded.

It means, ahead, there’s a lot to slog through. That there’s a lot of old pain to let go of to regain your innocence, and become hopeful enough to get hurt again.

I can’t help but think about Gidea’s sweet, angelic voice trying to come up in the City of Angels with her esoteric chamber pop. I think of her optimistic lyrics trying to pan out in a climate that often vacillates between apathy and outrage, and defaults to doubt.

But then I think about her song.

It’s brave to be the fool.

I mean, let’s face it: trying to tell anyone with a straight face that you’re a musician can be a humbling experience in its own right. But Gidea’s song reminds me why we do it – for that moment of clarity, that moment when music touches the heart and inspires comfort, or strength.

As we wait for Gidea’s EP in Spring 2023, let’s relish in the novelty of optimism as we dive into the winter season. Get giddy with long chemise dresses, witchy vibes, tarot cards, and cottage core. Enjoy covers Joni would be proud of.
And let’s support intrepid musicians like Gidea for putting their name out there, for making songs so daringly vibrant and loud with joy for life.

Sure, you can dwell in the past. It’s easy enough. But what would you do if you followed the last line of the song, lingering as it echoes out? What would you do if you let yourself believe it?

“The now is yours to take.”