Bella Human’s song “Nowhere/No One” is a deliciously unsettling exploration of inheritance, disappearance, and vision: a song about bleeding, but more about what blood is – how it got into our veins in the first place. Why that secret haunts us. It’s a tense song, resting atop repeating guitar plucks and ghostly vocals. It opens with an appropriately existential lyric:
“Am I the only one who wonders what we’re doing here? We’ve all disappeared.”
This opening seems to grapple with a bone-deep sense of absence, of loneliness. Where has everyone gone? Were we ever here in the first place? This motif of disappearance is central to Human’s message – it creates an atmosphere of uncertainty, heightened by the sliding vocals and minimalist instrumentals. This effect grows throughout the chorus:
“I’m in a place that’s nowhere with no one, just a slow and distant hum. Tomorrow, will I be back to somewhere with someone? Or never know where I’ve come from?”
This is where the issue of inheritance comes in. Where have we come from, and how did we get here? What parts of our cultural past do we continue to hold onto, and what does that say about us? Human croons the final line with near awe, both tragic and worshipful. Then, for the second chorus, Human switches from first person to second person, singing:
“You’re in a place that’s nowhere with no one, just a slow and distant hum. Tomorrow, will you be back to somewhere with someone? Or never know where you’ve come from?”
The repetition here, in conjunction with the subtle point of view shift, reminds the listener that the speaker is not alone in this existential rabbit hole. It binds the listener to the narrator – it makes things personal. In this instance, Human seems to extend beyond her own uncertainty and reach for another person, which is an interesting decision considering the song’s theme of loneliness. For the final section, the point of view shifts again, this time furthering the sense of unity by switching to first person collective – the classic, inclusive “we.”
“Tomorrow will we be back to somewhere with someone? Or never know where we’ve come from?”
As the song tapers off, its soundscape shifts, making room for strange, mechanical sounds, likely designed to unnerve the listener. Although enunciation was not much of a strength to begin with, toward the end Human’s vocals slip further out of understanding, delving into a deep, rusty tone that enhances the song’s creepy feel – although admittedly at the expense of easy comprehension. The song then ends with a mechanical shriek and breaks off, leaving the reader with an atmosphere of wonderful unease.
Bella Human’s “Nowhere/No One” is not sad so much as hazy, a vision of depth and emergence. It’s a song about seeing and being seen, and tells a story about behavior, about mind games of your own creation – about clinging to life more desperately than it clings to you.
Hey, Quick Sponsored Thing: PR Service to Get Your Music Featured in Blogs & Spotify Playlists
Our friends at Omari are really good at helping artists get heard and listed in cool indie blogs and playlists. They've worked with big acts (Judah & the Lion) and bedroom artists alike (which is feasible cuz service starts at $77). Anyway, take a look. Disclaimers: it's an affiliate link, and yeah, they're good.
If you're tired of pitching your music yourself, if you finally want to find your audience, or if you just like us, click here to learn more.