At some point in life, you have to take a step back to realize who you are and what type of environment surrounds you. Do you want to be a product of your environment, or do you want your environment to form around who you are? Of course, the latter is more desirable, however it is not always an easily achievable feat. We grow up finding out through middle and high school that being different is “bad” and that we should try our best to fit in. Once all of that is over, we can struggle to find out who we really are again. It’s important to stay true to yourself, even if it makes you seem weird in the eyes of others. With “Solipsism” by Fenne Lily, we are treated to a lesson on how it’s not always a bad thing to be a little self-centered.
Mixing a gritty guitar with some bass and drums, the song quickly forms a sort of trance with its repetitive pattern. After a few run-arounds, Fenne Lily enters with a confident vocal performance which travels up and down her range with a creative melody. She begins by observing those around her, “All these people walk so slow / Do they know something I don’t?” Feeling disconnected from those around her, she goes from observing that everyone else is moving slowly to worrying that maybe it is her who is out of the loop. Continuing, she sings, “Focus on a foreign feeling / Unashamed and unappealing.” To get through her worries, she is choosing to focus on a feeling which she is not used to. In doing this, she is aware that she may seem unappealing to everyone around her, but she has no shame.
The song suddenly slows down as Lily sings, “Run on empty at one and twenty.” At the age of 21, she believes she has already run out of what should be pushing her forward in life. It should also be noted that “When I was One-and-Twenty” is a famous poem by A.E. Housman, which discusses the thought that love will always lead to suffering. The next verse brings the song back up to full speed, with Lily singing, “Checking up to check I’m breathing / Sign in blood to keep it beating.” Feeling as though she is running on empty, she has to continually check up on herself to ensure she is actually still alive. She continues, “What is it you want to shake? / Solipsism keeps me wide awake.” Solipsism is a view which believes that all one can really be sure exists in life is one’s self. So, taking that into account, it seems that she is responding to someone questioning her self-centered behavior.
After a brief slow down where Lily reaffirms her feelings of running on empty, the song picks up and dives into a slightly psychedelic instrumental section. With a piano as well as some additional effects joining the mix, everything suddenly becomes fuller and more chaotic. Without slowing any of the instruments down, Lily joins the mix to offer some final words. By repeating the first verse in its entirety, she reaffirms her lack of change throughout the course of the song. The song slowly fades out as the final, “Run on empty at one and twenty,” is sung. Although the song only clocks in at three minutes long, I feel that the hypnotic nature of the instruments nullifies whatever time is passing in real life as you listen. This combined with the excellent lyrics comes together to create a song full of energy, and one that will surely get put on repeat.