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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Dopamine" - Drew Now

A minute into Drew Now's latest single, "Dopamine," the sepia-tone filter burns away to expose an electro-kaleidoscopic backdrop. Still present are the reverb-drenched keys and the Toronto/Nashville singer-songwriter's hushed vocals, but gradually the perspective pans out to capture the abyssal scope of outer space. The distant, high-pitched screeches call to mind the celestial glow of Lorde's 2017 album, Melodrama. Amid the swirl of hazy vocals, kick thumps, and synth risers, these subtle details pull listeners deeper. It's this restrained and richly embellished approach to "Dopamine" that evokes particularly inexplicable sensations. The blurriness, as though glimpsed through teary eyes, renders perfectly the experience of fresh grief.

"You knew that I was lonely," Drew Now accuses of an ex that took advantage of her. In the lowest places, we build ourselves around what serves as relief. That level of dependence is tumultuous to sever, not unlike a withdrawal. "Midnight sweats and chills down to the bone," she recites her symptoms with a restlessness, as though she's tossing and turning in bed. As it goes, the Canadian artist is bereft of any clear-cut feelings: "I don't hate you, but what the hell have you done to me?" At her most definite, Drew Now simply reflects on a period in time which hinged her mental well-being on a significant other. "You were my body, mind, and soul." It temporarily boosted her dopamine, but when she makes it out to the other side, it's revealed to have been a circle.

Much of Drew Now's time is divided between Canada and Tennessee. Born and raised in Ontario, her isolated upbringing on the shores of Lake Huron led to her particularly introspective writing style. The singer-songwriter produced her first EP in Nashville at the age of 16. That record, 2013's Mesmerized, was released under her name: Leah Mathies. She would then go on to compete on the thirteenth season of America's Got Talent. In 2020, she began releasing music as Drew Now. "Dopamine" is Drew Now's second single of 2023, following "Pornographic." Her music positions fresh loss and sorrow in a quilt of personal storytelling, weaving together the threads of religion, sex, relationships, and grief.

Written By Andy M.

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