“Not My Body” is a tragedy in the best way. It is the story of life into death, of feeling so disconnected from the only world in which we live. There are limited words to describe the beauty and ache of this song; if I had to try, I would say it’s eery, it’s painful, and it’s beautiful. I can feel this all from the beginning – in the slow hit of the drum rim and the wail of the faded guitar. And then Sam Lynch gives me her pain in the most lyrical and harmonious of ways.
She starts singing with the title of the song. She is not in control of her life. She lives for others and it hurts. Yet this is all she has, all she can do.
And I turn this head,
and I look your way,
and I try my best to say the things
that I think you want me to say.
It is all a mistake?
Sam Lynch seems to sing this truth in the wind, powerfully proclaiming into the wispy air. She is floating on, completely lost, struggling, living. I join her in this experience as the music of the song carries me. There is tangibility to narrative and it feels like the brittle chill of winter or the rust on old machines. It sounds like the saddest secret.
The song progresses as her voice grows. Lynch acknowledges her loss and has no idea how to get back, or at least to move forward. She paints this image of a drowning girl, slipping, losing, lost. It is told as a soft whisper with limited instrumentals. Next, an emergence above and blood brought back to the body. “Not My Body” reaches its climax. It is a loud proclamation. It is a prayer. It is a plead.
Maybe all that’s left –
I’ve framed this on myself.
Never feels like enough
to be said,
so I drown it out instead.
There is a rhythm to the repetition of this lyric. Its as if she is stumbling onward with nothing else to do and nothing else to lose. Her voice dims as a piercing, wavering fiddle enters. It plays out a tender ending to this mournful melody. Sam Lynch’s “Not My Body” is the definition of quiet power, providing a soundtrack to loss and revival.