Vulnerability is very often likened to weakness. Because of this, people tend to avoid showing their true feelings when it might make them look vulnerable. “Fall Apart”, the first track on Kate Mills’ recently released debut album Each Bittersweet Drop, melodically illustrates this common theme – the belief that to show emotion is to show weakness.
With sturdy, twangy, and feminine vocals, the NYC-based singer/songwriter opens “Fall Apart” trying not to let her negative feelings show:
I can’t give myself away
I thought that I could manage on my own
Mills admits that she feels the same way many if not most people do: afraid to let anyone see the dark feelings she harbors underneath a “brave face”. However, she also suggests that this method of burying her emotions has proven unsuccessful, i.e. being unable to manage, and something is going to change.
The song’s somewhat melancholy theme is veiled by upbeat, foot-tapping percussion, delicate piano riffs, and an overall well-crafted country/pop production. Though Mills is battling inner demons throughout, the song’s tone is predominantly uplifting.
In the chorus, Mills professes the need to escape from her pain, to a place that reflects what she’s feeling inside, somewhere she doesn’t have to worry about hiding what she’s feeling:
I just wanna cry, cry, my way into the night
I just wanna hide so far outta sight
I want the sky to thunder and rain
In addition to wanting to be free from her pain, Mills introduces a need for her environment to change around her so that she doesn’t have to keep hiding her emotions. It seems she is suggesting that perhaps no one will notice her break down in the midst of a storm – in other words, a place where she can “fall apart” freely.
We all know what it can feel like to be trapped in our own minds, forced to hear our thoughts whether they be pleasant or ugly. In this song, Mills is shining light on that feeling of emotional isolation and pent up anguish, and the importance of allowing ourselves space to let those things break through a brave facade.
In the second verse, Mills compares these feelings to being on a train, unable to get off:
Find me the off switch to my brain
I’m a captive aboard my own runaway train
The bridge seems to be the place in “Fall Apart” when Mills has accepted the existence of her negative feelings and that at times it’s important to feel okay with not being okay. In other words:
And it’s okay, let the tears come out
And it’s okay, let the walls come down
“Fall Apart” is a song that makes you feel better about feeling bad. It’s a reminder that during those moments when we are feeling our weakest, to allow that vulnerability to show itself is not only a necessity, but a sign of strength. Underneath the cheerful sound of the track is a message for those in need of a sign that it’s okay to fall apart.
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