“Absinthe” is the arresting new track from Los Angeles’ Gwendolyn. This far-reaching soundscape, a stealth song that interweaves its listener into a web of rock, electro pop and prose has the enigmatic songstress helming this outer-world listening experience. Gwendolyn’s classical-like vocals command high praise, just as the textured music bed has semblances of the Northern Lights ribboning through its base. Transporting the listener to a rock opera-like setting, Gwendolyn’s hauntingly beautiful work is on full display in the excellent “Absinthe”.
Stirring the listener like an Edgar Allan Poe reading, Gwendolyn’s sinister lyrics pierce the heart. She sings the vice that taunts me, the poison that rots me, my absinthe, absinthe, oh, with a yearning voice. She’s charismatic as she is cunning. You feel for her – the struggle of her alcohol addition is palpable. But I’ll be in these arms for the rest of the night, intoxication, oh my salvation, she sings. The dark beauty, the humanness shards through the oppressing sonic layers, is still hopeful. Her voice is angelic, and so stunning that when Gwendolyn sings, it’s hard to imagine this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde double-side taking shape. This song, like the grips of addiction, takes hold and is hard to escape.
Gwendolyn excels at taking the listener down this path, a place we don’t often want to face. But we must. This song might be hard for those in recovery, only because of its familiarity, but I do think it’s very much one to pursue. I found Gwendolyn to be devastatingly charismatic and talented. Her voice is suited for a song like this – a nefarious and troubling inner-demons bubbling to the surface tale. I won’t give the impression that this is a scary song or Halloween-like track, but there are moments of darkness. I think some listeners like to dwell in dark spaces of the heart and mind; I can’t say that I subscribe to that, but I appreciate Gwendolyn’s magnificent vocal prowess. I found myself coming back to this song at different points in the day, and like you would imagine, I felt very differently about it listening in the morning, facing the day with so much opportunity. On the other hand, listening to “Absinthe” just before bed time, it exudes the melancholy and the characters that fill one’s head in the evening hours. What wasn’t accomplished. Self-doubt rears its ugly head.
I also imagined this song as absinthe representing a relationship. Maybe the protagonist doesn’t want to let go, and can’t imagine their life without the other person. They are imprisoned by the relationship because of their obsession.
“Absinthe” is an incredible song, as is Gwendolyn. If you’re a fan of Amy Lee (Evanescence), Annie Lennox and Shakespears Sister, this is one track to add to your playlists. I found it quite intoxicating and invigorating. The more I listened, the more I craved for more. I’m not saying I’m addicted, but this song has this strange gravitational pull that leaves the listener helpless. Maybe, just maybe, “Absinthe” preys on the listener. It’s ultra-worthy as one of 2020’s best singles.