English singer-songwriter Bess Atwell returns with another rumination on rough relationships in the form of her latest single ‘All You Can Do’.
Coming on the heels of her last lyrical deconstruction of power-hungry partnership ‘Co-op’, ‘All You Can Do’ covers the same themes while taking on a more direct, driving sound and style.
“You can only live in turmoil and guilt for so long,” Atwell explained about the song’s themes. “This song was a rare moment of relative ruthlessness. A moment to breathe and stop apologising for the way I felt, and to try out blaming the other person; ‘I’ve gone stale / and I don’t think you taste it / well why don’t you taste it.’”
You can call this anything you want. Deeply personal? Of course. A raw and rugged look into the psyche of an artist? Absolutely. A window into the world that Atwell has drawn for us. For sure.
But if you’re going to call it anything, just don’t call it “confessional”. What a lazy, awful, and usually unintentionally sexist term to refer to songwriters who imbue their work with elements of their own life. Just because Atwell uses the term “confessional” in the song doesn’t mean you should kick back on lazy rock critic schmaltz in describing the song. When was the last time a male songwriter ever got pegged with that classifier? Besides, as Atwell explains, the song is a ruthless strike, not a meek expression or acknowledgement. I swear to God I want to smack any “writers” who rely on that cliche.
“I had spent a long time feeling powerless, as if I were my partner’s pet,” Atwell continued. “I spent the best part of a year living in his house, eating the food he cooked, being looked after by him. This song is a daydream of role reversal and an exploration of reclaiming control; ‘”you’re my sweet puppy / but is man’s best friend on a lead.’”
Check out the video for ‘All You Can Do’ down below.