Following the success of her highly-acclaimed 2018 “Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind album,” Cornwall, ON singer-songwriter Melanie Brulée returns to the spotlight, eager to share her brand new single, “The Mess,” here with us today. Co-written with Davy Gallant during a self-guided writing residency at Toronto Island’s Artscape Gibraltar Point, Brulée takes a leave of absence from her popular alt-country persona, refocusing instead on issues of mental health that have always been at the core of her songwriting creativity. “The Mess” is Melanie’s take on an all-too-familiar inner struggle: a showdown between anxiety and depression, each one fighting for power over its host and The Mess that is left in the wake. Officially planned for release on October 2nd to coincide with Mental Illness Awareness Week, we are honored to offer a sneak peek of this phenomenal new single.
Delve deeper into her bilingual musical past and you’ll quickly discover how strong an advocate Brulée has been for initiating dialogue surrounding mental health awareness, a topic etched into her heart and soul after dealing with the grueling loss of her late father to his battles with addiction. From “Debridée,” her solo 2015 Francophone debut album, to her deeply moving single “Pretty Wasteland” in 2018, Melanie Brulée remains committed to using her musical platform to spread awareness and facilitate discussions surrounding addiction, sobriety, depression, suicide, and loss. With “The Mess,” her message is not only at the forefront of her focus once again, but is delivered at a crucial time of uncertainty and despair as the global pandemic continues to disrupt our daily lives.
Opening with some simple guitar string plucks, Melanie’s distinct vocals dominate immediately. Yet the pacing and sound differs significantly, as she steers away from western noir towards a noticeable indie-roots-rock direction. “Feelings / You’re making em up / You’re on your own / Just a matter of luck now honey,” Melanie converses, accompanied by the strums of her acoustic guitar. “Plenty of cake, for everyone, you say / I try to get out of bed / With lines on my face, I’m such a disgrace, oh yeah.” Six short, sharp raps on that guitar accentuates those last few words, before settling back down with those softer strums once more. “I tried to contain it / I didn’t mean to start a war / You can point your pistol at me / But I’m the quicker draw, nah nah nah / Who’s gonna feed me / Now I’ve broken all the plates / Who’s gonna love me, who’s gonna love me?”
Cast your eyes back to the single artwork, and you´ll now appreciate Melanie’s finger-gun gesture, aiming at the mirror image of herself in reference to those lines from that opening verse. “It’s about that inner voice that sometimes sounds like it’s out to destroy us and how easily that can spiral out of control,” she shares. “Regardless of where those feeling of unworthiness stem from – whether systemic, through media, from our childhood, or due to chemical imbalances within us – these false stories we tell ourselves are exhausting and destructive to our self-image and confidence.” “I am all the mess, I am all the mess, I am all the mess, I am.”
Cue a brief pause following the chorus, before an eerie guitar interlude accompanies an equally unexpected overdubbed voice: “But I think talking to … artificial human face … would be … slightly … discombobulating.” The moment definitely works, and certainly fits, but I was very curious to learn just how and why this sound byte arrived here. “It was taken from a conversation we had on Toronto Island with Manual Cappel, the lighthouse keeper and only plumber on the island, and a character and a half. He is also a welder and makes art pieces in his workshop at Artscape,” Melanie explains. “Davy and I were recording with a binaural microphone which is shaped like a wooden sphere with a microphone on each side – like ears – and we were discussing the possibility of giving it a human face and how strange it would be to talk to an artificial human. [It acknowledges] that we lie to ourselves constantly with stories that fit into the saga that our brain creates at this time, so who are we to decide what is real anyway?”
Following a second verse and chorus, Melanie adds a very brief bridge that contains probably the six most important words that she wants us all to hear throughout this song: “Can anybody save us from ourselves?” The song has taken us full circle to this important topic of mental health awareness. “I want to highlight that there is help, [that] we all go through this, and no-one is alone,” she adds in closing. “I am all the mess, I am all the mess, I am all the mess, I am.” #WEAREINTHISTOGETHER
Photo Credit: Davy Gallant