The mysterious M.E Netzke draws us into his dusky world with his newest single “The Lion of Lonesome Valley”. The indie artist pulls his inspiration from the outcast and melancholic, describing himself as “the back half of an album.”
As the song title suggests, Netzke steeps us in his loneliness. Amidst washes of sound and vocal overlay similar to the work of Grizzly Bear, a sad mandolin flutters in and out and captures the wistfulness of failing love. Netzke’s use of strings, in combination with his harmonizing vocals and singing style are reminiscent of Beirut’s warmth and precise composing. It’s the sort of song you listen to when wandering alone in a midwinter forest, still, and romantically desolate.
The twanging guitar introduction draws us right into the vast desert of the “Lonesome Valley,” a special kind of bleak and beautiful, where the lion retreats to dwell in his sadness and examine his flaws.
“I chose a flower, but I left it in the ground for you
I closed my eyes and it turned into the sound of your voice
lullabying my dreams of you as I returned to the womb
whispered by your perfume”
“The Lion of Lonesome Valley” is an ode to suffering love, or rather lust. Pining after someone or some idea that feels too terrifying to pursue. It’s an examination of our own hesitancies and fears that keep us confined to our lonesome valleys.
“I wrote your name on a concrete wall, my love vandalized, etched in aerosol
So I could return to that alter egress, place my hand to the stone
and for a moment possess you”
It’s a mix of accepting and embracing his loneliness, almost dwelling in it to the point of obsession, and the contrasting yearning for a love that is out of reach. The love/lust almost comes across as more of a idealization of a person and who they represent, not who they really are. This thing that he (the lion, Netzke, the listener) chases, is an idealism of what he wants to be, and the lonesome valley is a trap of his shortcomings and shame.
“One of these days I’ll overcome my frailty, colour in my pale’ty
figure out a way to be… more like you
I’m the lion of lonesome valley, guarding a single blade of grass
Perhaps I’m not made for you, and you were never meant to understand my refuse”
“One of these days,” yes– but for those moments when the Lonesome Valley is welcoming you to dwell on the darkness, don’t have resistance, and allow yourself to feel it all. It’s a perfect track to fill your daily dose of melancholy, which Netzke expresses as an intention on his website. Be sure to check out “The Lion of Lonesome Valley.”– a lonely love song, and a deserving listen!