Stella Donnelly established herself as an artist well worth your ear with her debut album Beware of the Dog back in 2019. It was a record that achieved the strange feat that defies musicological analysis and offered up a dose of nostalgia trapped in the amber of song. That lived-in feel continues with her latest single ‘Lungs’.
Donnelly has a light-hearted approach to songwriting. Her words and melodies don’t seem to be sweated over, but in a liberating way, this gives them an air of sincerity and freedom much more so than the slapdash feel you might expect on paper.
The musical contours of ‘Lungs’ are all over the shop, keys are hard to pick and instruments float in and out on a whim—it is testimony to Donnelly’s skill that this doesn’t make it feel like a mishmash and allows for her to happen upon beauteous moments like the emotive middle eight where piano and profundity give the feeling that she has got her thoughts in order with a cathartic release.
“History again teach me like a friend what you know and why,” Donnelly sings with the same reminiscence that is reflected in her song. This ties the swirling single together brilliantly and earmarks her second album, Flood, as a record to watch out for.
This feeling of freedom within the song is reflective of how it came to be. Donnelly apparently wrote 43 tracks for Flood (which have been whittled down to 11) while travelling around Australian rainforests. “I forgot who I was as a musician, which was a humbling experience of just being,” she explains in the press release.
She added: “I had so many opportunities to write things in strange places. I often had no choice about where I was. There’s no denying that not being able to access your family with border closures, it zooms in on those parts of your life you care about.”
You can check out the video for ‘Lungs’ directed by Duncan Wright below. Flood is set for release via Secretly Canadian on August 26th.