Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield has long been noted for her immense, guitar-heavy indie rock, with choruses begging to be yelled and an anger underscored by her sharp lyricism.
With "Fire," the first single from Waxahatchee's upcoming album, Saint Cloud, Crutchfield retains her poignancy but dials down her instrumentals to a minimalistic, unassuming setup that forefronts her raw voice. While much of Crutchfield's previous work has centered around romantic relationships, "Fire" is an ode by herself, for herself: "It's about the internal dialogue of shame surrounding mistakes you've made in the past and how we spiral and beat ourselves up when we slip," Crutchfield explained in a statement. "It's meant to be a bit of a personal pep talk. If I can love myself unconditionally, then I can move through the world a little easier."
Following her recent decision to get sober, Crutchfield conceived the idea for "Fire" while driving over the Mississippi River. The song evokes the blissful solitude of spending a lengthy car ride by yourself, the kind that creates a welcome space for self-reflection. "If I could love you unconditionally / I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky," Crutchfield sings, as if speaking to herself in the rear-view mirror. "For some of us, it ain't enough." As she comes to recognize her growth over the years despite her blunders—"Tomorrow could feel like a hundred years later / I'm wiser and slow and attuned"—the song assumes the role of a self-love anthem in the truest form. We could all be a little easier on ourselves, "Fire" reminds us, even when the rest of the universe wants us to think otherwise.