“It was December / I wasn’t feeling well,” Lande Hekt laments in the first verse of her newest single. She then goes on to wonder aloud, “But am I ever?”
The Exeter-born musician Lande Hekt is releasing her debut solo album, Going To Hell, next month, and the singles already out to stream tell stories of love, loss, and—a classic—youthful angst. But there’s a deeper meaning to Hekt’s music and songwriting, something you might already have discerned from the album’s title. When describing her upcoming album, Hekt pointed to, “how homophobia and heteronormative culture can make you feel isolated and scared of being yourself.” In many ways, this album represents, “an expression of skepticism from a gay person regarding conservatism” for Hekt herself, as well as her listeners.
Her newest single off the album, aptly titled “December,” chronicles a person struggling with sexuality and a sense of belonging in a romantic world. There’s a genuine sense of youthful cynicism in the song, the way Hekt can sing a scorching line about never being happy so matter-of-factly, or the way the insistent electric guitar strumming amplifies feelings of rebellious angst. The melody seems empowered, but it masks truly heart wrenching storytelling. “What if no one ever falls in love with me? / What if someone already has and they never tell me?”
In many ways, I think this tension between candid youthful heartache and wearied skepticism is a large part of the power of the song. “It’s a bit of a self indulgent teenage issue,” Lande Hekt said about the track’s message. Okay, we all know that teenagers are the biggest victims of main character syndrome, but that’s not to say that the inevitable turmoil that comes with adolescence isn’t worth addressing. Amidst all that angst, there often lies true, raw pain. For Hekt, “I think it’s also trying to work through the worries that go along with realizing you’re gay.” When she sings, “Scared to tell you / Scared to even try,” you’re left wondering who the object of the line is. Is it a crush? A family member? Herself? It might seem like melodrama to some, but here Hekt finds herself crushed, alone, and uprooted. “What if I decide that I need to go home? / But it doesn’t exist, I left so long ago.”
It may all sound a little glum, but beyond the despair there’s an undeniably tongue-in-cheek attitude that sparkles. On “December,” Hekt’s songwriting is seasoned and her wit is fresh. Going To Hell will be released through Get Better Records on January 22nd.