“What’s the difference in love and pain? It’s mad they both drive you insane”, Dance.
Foxes’ latest EP, Friends in the Corner, allows love, pain and everything in between to sit comfortably side by side. After a 4-year hiatus from releasing music, she returns with 8 tracks that cover seldom-discussed themes such as the vulnerabilities of friendship, the joy of independence resulting from breakups, and the importance of family. This release consists of well-crafted pop that takes its time to dwell upon insecurities, as well as relish in moments of uplifting joy.
The themes of this EP are unusual, but nevertheless relatable. The opening, and titular, track Friends in the Corner harks back to an occasion when Foxes became suddenly aware of the fragility and vulnerability of her friends (“Does it hurt to see how our smiles have changed?”). This nostalgic, yet youthful theme sets the tone for the EP, allowing for exploration of deep and emotional topics, through both danceable and hauntingly pensive sound worlds.
Whilst Love Not Loving You and Dance occupy the former, Hollywood and Kathleen venture into the latter. Indeed, the reflective and mellow Kathleen is an homage to the singer-songwriter’s grandmother and her excellent advice on life. As Foxes pensively questions, “Why do I let people be bad to me? Ignore reality”, Kathleen allows for the portrayal of familial, non-Romantic love – emphasising its importance in our own personal growth and discovery (“Just go be slow, you’ll figure it out”).
Once the mellowness has subsided, themes of celebration bring an overwhelming sense of euphoria. Foxes, however, chooses to celebrate the joy of independence after the disintegration of a relationship (“Now I’m gonna give it all up, gonna love not being in love”, Love Not Loving You) and the reclamation of control in one’s life (Woman). Furthermore, Foxes also acknowledges the flaws of past loves through blunt, but refreshing, honesty (“You were always giving me all of your insecurities”, Love Not Loving You).
Much of the lyricism on this release uses plain and direct language, that is executed beautifully. The raw honesty permeating tracks such as Dance (“I want you, got no shame/This therapy’s gone to waste”) and Woman (“I’m sick of tripping on wires just to stay alive”) allows for contrasting ideas to occupy such close proximity on this release. As a result, there is not one track on this 8-track EP that feels incomplete or forced. Everything is finalised, rounded and three-dimensional. Moreover, this is not achieved through bombastic effect and dramatic imagery, but through careful crafting of instrumentation, subject matter and direct lyricism.