The pandemic changed what it means to be in a relationship, with many couples facing the decision between basically breaking up or living together. Some people rushed into relationships for companionship, and other relationships that seemed meant to be never materialized. LA-based indie pop artist Jane Honor meditates on the strange turn dating took during COVID times in her latest single – the dark, moody “Melt.”
Honor wrote the song about starting a new relationship in the “apocalyptic world” of early 2021. She remembers being inside a vortex with this person, disconnected from the rest of the world and each other’s worlds as well.
“I don’t think you get the full view of a person when you’re not completely immersed in their life and sharing that, because that’s what relationships are all about — and so without that connection to their life, you just have this fantasy world,” she says. “After COVID, we led very different lifestyles in that we just really didn’t mesh with each other’s friends well, and it just started to fall apart out of isolation.”
The song starts off with heavy guitar and bass sounds and somber rock vocals painting a picture of a hauntingly enclosed space: “Melt into the bed with me/Feel the fluff between our feet/Breathe in noises of the street/Baby, are you scared of me?” These verses escalate into a surprisingly refreshing, breezy chorus, giving off an impression of stepping outside after a long period of isolation: “Yellow light in our eyes/Do you think we’ll be the same?”
Honor writes the skeletons of all her songs on the piano, and for this one, she worked with bassist Jed Elliott of The Struts, who produced the single as well as played on it. Reverb, vocoder, and vocal effects give it a familiar indie rock sound, and they used “really intricate, not-as-pleasing-sounding harmonies to build the tension of the song,” says Honor.
“I knew I wanted it to be a big production, a big song. So I just really went into it, and I didn’t care if it was extra or too much, and I made it really cinematic,” she explains. “Some of the feedback has been that it wasn’t too articulated or enunciated, but that’s the point — that it’s supposed to be kind of wishy-washy and misunderstood and sounding underwater a little bit, because jumping into something so scary during the pandemic kind of feels like you’re drowning.”
Writing this song — and songwriting in general — has been a way for Honor to deal with feelings of fear and hopelessness during the pandemic, and she hopes the song can help normalize these feelings for others experiencing them. “I hope that listeners take away that it’s okay to feel scared in relationships and to feel scared in life,” she says.
Honor is only 20 years old but has been singing and writing music since she was eight, beginning mostly with musical theater and going on to perform in venues like the Apollo Theater in New York. She’s currently a student at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and has released four other singles beginning last year.
Throughout her body of work, Honor’s deep, rich, full-bodied voice makes her stand out, from the 80s-inspired “There Won’t Be Any Music” — an account of a tumultuous relationship with another musician — to her first single, the percussion-driven “Deer in the Road,” where she sings operatically about moving on after a breakup. “Green” contains similarly theatrical vocals and piano and she sings about retaining the positive memories of a fraught relationship.
Her last single, the folky “Sunset to London,” was co-written with producer Matty Carlock about her first solo trip around Europe. “We pulled from my experience of going to London and added a lot of fictional aspects and storylines that were fun to create,” she remembers.
She’s compiled these songs and others into an album dubbed Spiraling in Central Park, set for release next spring, which deals with mental health, addiction, and “sticking to yourself and who you are,” she says. “I think the overall theme is just growing up, and maybe growing up too fast.”
Inspired by artists like Regina Spektor, Maggie Rogers, and Phoebe Bridges, Honor hopes to get more involved in the production and engineering side of music as well as singing and songwriting as her career develops. When she’s not making music, she explores other art forms like drawing, painting, and writing.
Despite the weirdness of pandemic life for her, she’s also seen it bring some positive things to her relationships and relationships in general. “I think that we don’t take people for granted as much,” she says. “I know I hold my friends a lot closer because there’s always a thought that they could be ripped away from us again for a year and a half or a few years. That’s a really scary thought, so I definitely value my friendships a lot more. People have just been a little bit kinder and more understanding through the whole pandemic.”
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