A good song has a way of capturing a moment, or a series of moments, like a vivid painting, like a few poignant frames in a film. A cascade of emotions, thoughts, and decisions that may take seconds or minutes in real time can take the stage and be examined like seasons. Kristen Martell’s stunning new song “Should I Run” lives in just such a space.
“Should I Run” is the Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia-based singer-songwriter’s latest single from her forthcoming album, “Every Season.” Martell’s vocal delivery has the quiet power of Sarah McLachlan and the gravity of Brooke Annibale, and the brilliant and tasteful arrangements sound like she is being backed by Great Lake Swimmers. There is a soft edge in her voice as she details the tension between flight and fight. The “fork-in-the-road” feel that the song sits in is juxtaposed by the calm insistence of the subtle drums and lead guitar lines.
While “Should I Run” is a contemplation on a question, the bridge lyric provides a possible answer to the question, and the song’s best line, repeated for emphasis: “Maybe the answer’s found in standing still.” As the song comes to a close, lush strings gracefully punctuate the moment and allow the listener to linger in the pleasant presence of the song for just a little more time.
In this song, Martell takes a serious look at fear and steels herself against it, willing to sit in the discomfort when that is what is called for. She is candid about the learned response of fleeing, but offers hope that those who don’t feel they can raise their voice can do so – that there can be a better way.
Photo Credit: Beatrice Schuler