Last year Chelsea Cutler released her sentimentally charged sophomore record ‘When I Close My Eyes’ which heard the American singer-songwriter finding a hopefulness that steered the album into lighter territory. Finding herself heavily inspired within this era, she’s continuing her inner-exploration with a deluxe edition of the album on the horizon. The first taste lifted from the deluxe is the empowering ‘the lifeboat’s empty’, which is a song for anyone that has found themselves in an unrequited love.
“I poured myself into you and you let me. Then say you’re overwhelmed and you resent me. Cause you don’t know how to let somebody down gently, do you?” she sings during the emotional opening moments of the song. Setting the tone for a love that feels really one-sided with the other person then turning on you in the end as a way to protect themselves, you can’t help but feel betrayed in the moment. Finding the inner-strength to escape the darkness and see that they weren’t giving you what you needed in the relationship, this song is all about letting go. “Never got what i needed, and my love has a ceiling” she confesses before proclaiming; “Ooo, you want something that I can’t give anymore. ooo I can’t go back to the way things were before”. It’s really cathartic, and if you’ve found yourself in this situation before then your heart will feel extra comforted in the fact that you made the right decision in letting go because you are enough and you are worthy of someone’s full love. If they really loved you, their lifeboat wouldn’t have been empty, and they would’ve fought to have you in their life still.
Contrasting the emotional and cathartic lyricism with an uplifting alt-pop production, she organically builds a freeing soundscape with guitars, drums and airy synths. Sonically found in the world of ‘When I Close My Eyes’, it reminds me of ‘Under’ and ‘Without You’ with their empowering emotion radiating through. It has an empowering lightness that encourages the listener to let go and choose themselves.
Chelsea Cutler has this unique ability to make you feel listened to. Her way of storytelling feels like she’s your best friend and she’s written the song to help you get through a dark time, and ‘the lifeboat’s empty!’ is another one of those special moments.