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Zoe Zobrist on “Better,” Her Songwriting, and What Happened Since Her Last Song

Self

Soft, slow and sad is Zoe Zobrist’s latest single: “Better”. “Better” is a drifting rock single following up 2021’s “Oh Baby.” Sounding much like a retrospective, it’s fitting that “Better” has a more produced sound to it. The instruments stand more on their own, and serve to elevate the focus of the track: the vocals.

“Better” opens with vocables over a smooth guitar sound. The mixing and the sound of all the instruments is very clear and crisp, lending to the overall somber mood of the track. Though that mood is best realized through Zobrist’s lyrics. Bittersweet but pretty in a way that a spring storm can be, “Better” is a song about looking back and reflecting. The chorus is a shift in the sound, swelling up and becoming more emotional. The instruments lose their cold cleanliness, and the inclusion of sharp percussion makes it feel as though we’ve snapped back to the present. We leave the contemplation and memory and Zobrist shifts from speaking in past tense to present: “I let go of yesterday / And in the morning / I’ll scream at the top of my lungs.” The pre-chorus has the instrumentals cut out, lingering on the vocals to further reinforce the shift between contemplation and conversation. The audience is spoken to in this moment: our singer is getting better, but it’s not something they wanted to or should have gone through.

Zoe Zobrist has done intimate before, and it’s not uncommon for a musician to write their music to an audience, but “Better” acts as a good example of the format. Listening to it feels like comforting a friend, being there for someone who has to vent. Music is often a way we parse emotions, and a way we can move on. Zobrist’s single has a weight to it that gets lighter each passing verse, until it’s shared between listener and artist.

It’s been a year between “Oh Baby” and “Better.” Was it hard to get back to writing music from your hiatus, or did it come easier than before?

I released “Oh Baby” about a week before my son was born in late September of 2021. So it hasn’t been too too long, I just really wanted to allow myself to experience that first half year with my new little one as presently as I could. I’m always writing even when it’s not something I release, it’s always been such a comforting way for me to process different things in my life.

What pushes you to write your music? Is it a creative desire, or are there external factors?

I write in a very journalistic way, it’s always been a safe haven for me. Even if I never shared anything, I’d still write. So it comes from some internal necessity I think, just something I’ve always loved doing.

What is your eventual goal for the art you create? Do you have a point that you’re trying to reach?

I think that’s ever evolving, but overall my goal is to reach people, to connect with others through what I create.

Would you call “Better” your best work so far? Is there any element of the song that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m proud of the lyrics, I’d say it’s one of the most cathartic things I’ve shared. This has been such a transitional stage in my life, and this song really helped me work through some things.

Can we expect any new songs or singles in the upcoming months?

Absolutely! I’m currently working on an EP of songs that are really near & dear to my heart & can’t wait to put them out.

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