After finding her own inner strength on one of the year's most massive hits with Fight Song, Rachel Platten returns with an equally-compelling anthem. Stand by You, co-written with fun.'s Jack Antonoff, is cut from the same empowering fabric, but the sonic elements seem far grander and more accessible. Instead of projecting the message onto herself and her own journey—"this is my fight song, take back my life song" she rallies on her first-ever Top 10 hit—the 34-year-old singer-songwriter turns to the downtrodden. She etches out a storyline of hope as she reaches out to her fellow underdog and offers a sage piece of advice. "Put your empty hands in mine, and scars...show me all the scars you hide. And hey, if your wings are broken, please take mine so yours can open, too," she coos on the opening verse.
Platten, who is a testament that age (sometimes) is no boundary to pop, then climbs higher on the monumental chorus. Her vocal is markedly more confident, too, exuding wisdom (and adorned with unfettered coolness). "I'm gonna stand by you. Even if we're breaking down, we can find a way to break through," rings the resounding hook, an interplay between her career-defining moment and those severely aching for one. "Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through Hell with you. Love, you're not alone, cause I'm gonna stand by you." Even if Stand by You (a sample off her forthcoming Columbia Records full-length) isn't quite as cinematic or immediate as Fight Song's gritty urgency, the larger-than-life narrative is charming and only furthers the singer's worthiness of being heard.
Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Grab a copy of Stand by You on Apple Music.