With reflective lyrics and a somber production, Stacey Kelleher shares the heart-wrenching ending of a bittersweet love story in her latest single, “Die On This Hill.” The singer co-produced the track with The Foxies’ band member, Jake Ohlbaum, and co-wrote it with their friend, Meredith Rounsley. The song explores the story of Kelleher needing to leave the “longest, deepest relationship” she has ever had in her life so far. Her partner was someone she had been friends with for several years prior to dating, making this heartbreak even more devastating. Despite the fierce and true love she had for this person, she knew that leaving them was the right decision. She illustrates this eloquently with the melancholic lyrics throughout the song. In the chorus, she begins by providing the backstory about the never-ending arguments and resentment held between the two lovers, before ending it on the clever hook. Kelleher sings, “We can’t go one more night// Back and forth, quiet fights// Keeping score of who fucked it up this time// There’s a pain in our chests// It’s not terminal yet, but I’m bracing for the landslide// We die on this hill every time.” She perfectly describes the feeling of not wanting to let go but knowing that, in the end, it is for the best. They keep fighting for something they know is wrong and that will inevitably go down in flames. The deep and poetic lyricism found in “Die On This Hill” is a prime example of Kelleher’s remarkable songwriting.
Along with the woeful lyrics, “Die On This Hill” contains a melancholic production that perfectly encapsulates this gloomy storyline. The complex ballad intentionally pulls at the listener’s heartstrings, compelling them to feel the same devastating heartbreak that Kelleher feels. The song begins with an eerie synth wave that establishes the grim atmosphere. This builds to the first verse where Kelleher’s angelic vocals are introduced, alongside the complex, yet delicate production. A soft beat is paired with the soothing electric guitar riff and subtle piano keys that guide the listener through the vulnerable song. This pulls an emphasis on each heart-wrenching lyric. Then, the synth wave intensifies for a brief moment, signifying the beginning of the chorus. The drum beat becomes more prominent while the synth sound effects increase, enhancing the emotional intensity of the track. Right before the song reaches the hook, the beat mutes to pull emphasis on the crucial line. After the last word of the chorus, the electric guitar picks up and the beat returns, providing an intense transition into the second verse. The production continues throughout the verse, with muffled vocal echoes periodically throughout, before returning to the full production of the chorus. However, during the hook, the beat does not mute this time, creating a subtle shift in the atmosphere before introducing the emotional break in the song. Kelleher’s captivating vocalizations lead the build-up into the last chorus, showcasing the passion and heartache behind the lyrics. The production softens to only the electric guitar and periodic synth effects for the first three lines of the chorus, until the beat begins to build, leading to the final explosion into the full production. The outro remains for the last minute of the track, slowly fading out. As the song inches closer to the conclusion, indistinctive muffled talking parts are heard, representing the quiet fights mentioned in the chorus. This is a unique personification of the couple as the song ends slowly like the relationship. With “Die On This Hill,” Kelleher and her co-producers crafted a flawless alt-pop ballad that is composed of a clever production and unforgettable lyrics that effortlessly resonate with her audience.
Stacey Kelleher is an indie-pop singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist based in Nashville, Tennessee. She made her debut in 2018 with her single, “All I See.” Then in 2021, she released her first EP, Songs So Far. This cleverly titled project consists of five tracks, including a collaboration with Devin Kingston. Since then, she has released several standalone singles. Her upcoming sophomore EP, Out of Orbit, is out on September 15th, 2023. Kelleher takes inspiration from a handful of artists, such as Holly Humberstone, Lennon Stella, LANY, and Phoebe Bridgers. Her reflective lyricism and electro-pop melodies blend together to create her own unique sound that reels in thousands of listeners.
Written By Karlee Skipper