Single Review: Erin Rae - 'Bad Mind'

Nashville indie folk artist Erin Rae shares blissful and poignant cut, 'Bad Mind' taken from her forthcoming new album, Putting On Airs' due for release on June 8 via Single Lock.

As a blog we were first made aware of Erin Rae through her last single, 'Can't Cut Loose' which ambles along pleasantly with its no frills yet lovingly crafted production. Rae's ability to create affecting lyrics and calming arrangements instantly fills her listener with ease, despite the more troubled scenarios playing out within her lyrics.

New single, 'Bad Mind' has a really lovely, mellow feel to it that finds its listener almost transfixed by its steady rhythms, joyful melodies and deeply pleasing instrumental in the second half of the song. However, the lyrical theme is not quite as cheery and links nicely to the feeling of being trapped and longing for freedom that is depicted in 'Can't Cut Lose'. 'Bad Mind' sadly explores how Tennessee treated homosexuality in the 90s and early 2000s, telling the story of a family member discriminated against in a shocking way because of her sexuality. I don't usually post long quotes, but as a gay woman, the theme here is important to me and I feel this needs to be heard exactly as it was written.

Discussing the track at length, Rae explains “Bad Mind is about growing up in Tennessee in the 90s and early 2000s, which was a tough time and place for a girl to be learning about her own sexuality. A really significant event in my childhood occurred in 1996, when an Alabama court ruled my aunt to be an “unfit” mother, solely because she was gay. This was a court battle that went on for years, and as a result, my cousin, who was the same age as me and who I was very close with, was only able to see her mom every other weekend, and even then, only if my aunt’s partner left the house before she arrived.

What grew out of that experience for me was a deep, underlying fear of being gay. I internalized the heartbreak that I saw my aunt and cousin endure, which made things incredibly difficult and confusing as I entered my pre-teen and teenage years, because if you were a girl in the South in 90s, you’re supposed to be getting crushes on boys. And when things didn’t necessarily happen that way for me, I spent my entire middle and high school years trying to get those feelings to go away. And even to this day, there is an anxiety that persists. So ‘Bad Mind’ is really about the need to heal, to peel back the layers and process it all, so that I can allow my true feelings to come to the surface

The warmth to Rae's vocal is extraordinary, it soothes and comforts which makes her delicate songs sound less fragile. Her emotional lyrics hold power in their unwavering honesty. Rae's timeless sound sits comfortably in 2018 but reminds me a lot of Joni Mitchell, channeling an incredibly beautiful classic 60s indie folk ethos that feels organic and inviting. Erin Rae leaves her listener gracefully suspended in time through her music, making us contemplate the gravity of her lyrics without feeling too sad to function. Really beautiful stuff.

Words of Karla Harris