PREMIERE | Jesse Denaro Tries to Get a 'Handle' on Things

Denaro Allows Himself to be Vulnerable on His Forthcoming New Album

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Denaro exposes his unnerving mental state.

You can't carry all the pain on your own. You might try, but you'll suffer for it. A bedeviling musical archer, Jesse Denaro finds himself murdered, metaphorically speaking, of course, as a relationship spirals out of complete control. The mayhem tearing him apart at his core spills out onto the shoulders of a lover, a bitterness slowly growing from inside them, too. "Handle," premiering today, is a red-eyed, savagely honest portrayal of Denaro's mental state and his journey to reclaim some semblance of sanity.

Out of Pittsburgh, the singer and songwriter heaves his crumbling mental state to the forefront. It's a moment of bravery, turning himself in and confronting exactly what is going on. Through letting his guard down, he opens himself up, every inch of his human shell, to finding redemption in himself, the world and those tightly-bound around him. Musically, he takes a few cues from Harry Styles (that throwback '70s rock updated for a modern audience) and Daniel Caesar but allows the guitar and drums to percolate before downing it.

Jesse Denaro

"I'm running faster, faster than my heart / And I can't get back to where we started," he sings, lacing each shimmer with a weighty emotional drip. "When you look at, when you look at me / What do you see? / A stranger or a thief?" His inquisition is both a necessary step to self-awareness and troubling to his lover, whose "shoulders can't handle it," as he observes. Denaro's pleas are heartbreaking and thrash through the drums like a sickle through overgrown brush, razor-sharp and decisive. The generally bright production style is deceiving, attempting to conceal the trouble he so desperately wants to unpack.

Jesse Denaro

He then turns accusatory, telling his lover, "You're a pretty little liar." Even though he begs her to take away his pain, he warns, "The blood is on your hands today." They're ultimately both at fault; one a victim, the other a passive observer letting it happen. "I'm splitting at the seams / Losing more and more of me," he hollers, the song detonating itself into a fiery display.

On the song, he tells Popdust, "I wrote 'Handle' in response to watching someone I loved try to tear me down. It was my way of seeing the truth in manipulation and allowed me to release that person from my life. It is a nod to early '90s rock, opening with pronounced drums and piano balanced with both electric and acoustic guitars, and it is the most honest song I've written about a bad relationship, and you can sing along to it."

"Handle" samples Denaro's forthcoming new album, expected later this year on The Vault Records.

Listen below:


Below are Denaro's upcoming shows:

August 18th - Zelienople, PA - The Strand Theater

September 14th - Harrisburg, PA - Stage on Herr

September 15th - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall

September 19th - Indianapolis, IN - White Rabbit Cabaret

September 20th - Chicago, IL - Elbo Room

September 21st - Columbus, OH - Rumba Cafe

Follow Jesse Denaro on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.


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