Rachel Efron’s song “I Changed My Mind, I Want You,” is a clean, shining stand-out in Efron’s 2020 album, Human as I Came. In January of 2021, Efron’s album was noted as the number one folk add for college and community radio across the country, tied with the massively popular Andrew Bird. Efron’s appeal is multifold: her work is grooving, affectionate, and playful, all whilst remaining grounded in classical musical sensibilities. Don’t believe me? Listen to it for yourself.
She lay breathing a locked room/The earth beneath her spinning round and around
Efron has an extensive background in storytelling, poetics, and classical music. In the years before recording her debut album, Efron honed her musical and writing skills at Harvard University. Her gathered expertise shines in the narrative prowess of “I Changed My Mind, I Want You.” The track is a tale of awakening. The lyrics are lush, detailed, and poetic as they describe a sleeping woman: “She lay breathing a locked room/The earth beneath her spinning round and around/She was hyacinth in bright bloom/With roots that couldn’t reach the ground, cool soft ground.” This attention to metaphor both brings the listener closer to the character and further away; we understand the character’s sleepiness, her distance, her fragility, yet there’s simultaneously an aestheticization of this state taking place that paints her more as an art piece than a person.
Closed eyed stare/Sap stuck hair/Hushed while the singers sing
This aestheticization of the woman in question seems to function here as a way to emphasize her immobility. At the start of the song, the woman is asleep – in more ways than one. Physically, she is restrained in her room. Emotionally, she is separated from the person she loves. It reminds me of Sleeping Beauty – the image of Aurora lying with her eyes closed, a rose clutched to her chest, sleeping so deeply, with such stillness, that she looks like a painting. But with the entrance of her previously estranged lover, the woman in Efron’s song bursts into technicolor. We witness her desire, her initiative, her awakening.
Sex was nothing but a cover/For ways she wasn’t yet alive, quite alive/Now you step to meet me/Smile completely
Another aspect of the song that I find fascinating is Efron’s use of shifting perspective. The song primarily lives in the third person, narrating the woman’s experiences with a degree of narrative distance. Yet during more emotional moments, the narrator blends into the woman’s voice, speaking directly from her perspective: “Now I feel everything/Like the sun that shines in the clear blue.” Even further, the perspective shifts again to second person to address the lover directly: “In your arms I claim my longing.” This blurring of perspective makes for a delightfully wide, shifting experience of the song. It blurs the lines between the speakers, the characters, and the listeners.
I changed my mind, I want you
Efron’s single “I Changed My Mind, I Want You” is grooving, affectionate, and expansive. You’ll love it if you enjoy jazz. It’s a song for creatives, by creatives, with no slack in the story.