“Nine Lives” revolves around a central metaphor that makes the song uniquely charming, while also perfectly capturing the melancholy of heartbreak. In the song, Odie Leigh reflects on the progression of a relationship – the stages of falling in love and then falling apart. As the song opens, she is fully entranced, ready to share precisely half of herself with another.
Cats have nine lives
I have two
I live one for me
And one for you
This song touches on the fact that there is a fine line between sharing your life with another person and living for them. As the song continues, it is revealed that giving away a part of herself has become a slippery slope, as she soon found herself dissolving into her lover and losing herself.
Yes, I’m giving up again
Cats have nine lives, I have three
I gave all to you, saved none for me
It’s true, it’s true
Leigh’s tone has an intimate quality – it feels as if she is singing directly to you. I find that this suits the content of the lyrics, which are intensely honest and confessional in nature. I find it interesting that she tends to repeat certain phrases in the song, almost as if she is coaxing herself into acceptance. By the last time she sings “I’m giving up again,” we hear a greater sense of assurance in her voice. It feels as if the song was written as an attempt to work through a painful and uncomfortable realization, and the listener gets to follow her stream of consciousness through to the conclusion.
Sonically, the song’s stripped back quality makes it feel even more raw and vulnerable, while also allowing Leigh’s powerfully emotive voice to shine. I love when artists creatively interpret and utilize non-instrumental sounds in a final recording, and I found that the birds singing in the background was a subtle yet beautiful addition that gives the song even more life. The production lets the song shine for what it is, to the extent that it feels like I’m listening to Leigh in her backyard as the music pours out of her, healing both of us in the process.
“Nine Lives” succeeds at capturing an emotion that is widely felt but rarely articulated in such clear terms, while also having a poetic element. I would consider this an essential sad girl tune for musing on what it means to lose and find yourself once again, and I can’t wait to hear what Leigh shares with us in the future.