Witch Prophet's Ayo Leilani clearly had healing intentions when she wrote "Listen." It's the official song of the #AnchorCampaign, which Canadian musician (and guest vocalist) Lucas Silveira started to spur conversation about mental health, self-harm and suicide.
Lyrics are perhaps the most obvious element of the tonic: The song begins, "Don't let the fear take over" and repeats the phrase like a mantra. But the actual sounds of the song, beyond the words it speaks, are a key component of the relief it provides. Witch Prophet's use of parallel thirds, that most classic of harmonic devices, lends the chords soothing balance. And the woozy R&B production by SunSun, though spare, is enormously satisfying: In my favorite moments of the song, a synthetic string section dances around the voices of Leilani and Silveira.
Witch Prophet goes to an uncertain place ("Tryna keep steady / Tryna keep on solid ground / Tryna keep level / Tryna keep from falling down"), and makes it a zone where you feel comfortable staying. Choose your own dosage, but in my opinion, it's meant to be put on repeat for an entire morning.
Hua Hsu recently wrote that in a time of distress, he looked for "music that seemed to arrive from an alternate universe." "Listen" is not obviously otherworldly, but it does, in its own way, present an alternate universe. It helps me imagine a world in which the only way we talk to ourselves, and to each other, is with the explicit intent to heal.
Golden Octave will come out sometime this year.