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  • Karlee Skipper

Review: "leave me for dead" - GAYLE

Dark and morbid imagery with a fierce production is the perfect recipe for an unforgettable pop-rock anthem. In her latest single, GAYLE utilizes this imagery to tell the story of a toxic relationship and the devastation it left behind. “leave me for dead” is a clear-cut title, informing listeners of the gloomy plot line before the song even begins. In the first verse, GAYLE sets the scene of an unhealthy relationship— one that is one-sided and filled with red flags. She confesses that she knew they were doomed from the start, and yet she still fell for it all. Then in the pre-chorus, she sets up the hook, with the lyrics: “And if you're not gonna love me// Oh, the least that you could do is kill me.” The song transitions to the chorus, where the listener is hit with the gory line: “Take a knife and put it through my chest// Won't feel a thing, there's nothing left.” With these lines, GAYLE ingeniously captures the reality of her heartache. Her heart is not simply broken, but instead ripped out of her chest. She continues the chorus with anger fueled lyrics, including the hook in which she tells them that if they’re going to leave then, they should “leave me for dead.” This is a brilliant play on words that perfectly encapsulates this grim imagery while illustrating the type of person they truly are. GAYLE is known for her cheeky lyricism and “leave me for dead” is another exemplary addition to her impressive discography, proving her rightful title as the industry’s next pop-rock queen.

“leave me for dead” contains a fiery production that enhances GAYLE’s clever lyrics and complements her powerful vocals. The song instantly kicks off with the verse as her compelling voice guides the listener through the angsty storyline. In the first half, a muted guitar and bass are played hitting only down-beats, except for one up-beat at the end of every other measure. This note is not muted like the rest, bringing an emphasis on the pattern. In the second half of the verse, a slight percussion is added to provide an additional layer to the song. The pre-chorus begins with a progression change and the introduction of a guitar melody that uses chorus and delay effects to provide a wavy element. Then, there is a brief pause in the production to signify the beginning of the chorus. GAYLE utilizes a unique scale for the lyrics, upholding the artist’s signature vibe. The production maintains the muted guitar and bass, while the percussion becomes more prominent in the forefront. Background vocals emphasize the end of each line, providing a lively tone to the otherwise morbid subject. Another brief production pause is used in the middle of the chorus when GAYLE first sings the hook, “leave me for dead.” This pause brings focus to the hook, drawing the listener’s attention to the most important line of the track. The second half of the chorus contains the full production. Then, the song transitions to the second verse. While maintaining the original instrumentation, the verse adds an additional guitar to the background with the back-up vocals present as well. The second pre-chorus utilizes the same production as the verse. However, there is a production pause to emphasize the last line as GAYLE whispers the final words: “kill me.” The second chorus contains the full production, leading into the sassy bridge. While GAYLE’s lead vocals guide the listener through the bridge, background vocalizations are heard that create an additional dynamic for the production. When the final chorus returns, the instrumentation contains only the muted guitar, with a brief moment of the full production to emphasize one line, before going back to the guitar. Then, the song ends with GAYLE singing the hook acapella, closing the song with one final morbid declaration.

As a song with such a dark subject matter, it is only fitting that the corresponding music video would be just as gruesome. GAYLE let her creative mind take control in the “leave me for dead” video, utilizing strong themes of death, murder, and chaos. The video starts with a close-up shot of GAYLE singing with a blank background. The camera slowly pans out, revealing her position in front of a podium surrounded by flowers. Immediately, the audience realizes the singer is reciting the eulogy at her own funeral. When the chorus hits, the shot switches to the singer being dragged by her feat, beaten and bloody. The video continues to alternate between the two shots, as GAYLE dramatically sings the lyrics, emphasizing the pain and suffering she has endured. The second verse begins with the singer being carried over the shoulder by the villain through a dark, dense forest. She is seen trying to kick, punch, and fight her way out of this scenario, with no avail, representing the unrelenting emotional abuse. The scene quickly switches back to the funeral, showing the mourners in the church pews, weeping over her death. Over the course of the video, this scene becomes more chaotic as the funeral guests start drinking and partying. GAYLE is seen stuck in the middle of this, seeming confused and hurt by her loved ones. This may represent the overwhelming grief she is feeling for her broken heart, while those around her have moved on. As she is still freshly wounded from this abuse, everyone around her seemed to have forgotten about her suffering. The music video switches between all four of these different shots as it builds to the climax in the bridge, where GAYLE is shown being buried alive. She is trying to escape as more dirt is being thrown on top of her by not one, but two assailants. The final chorus shows only her alone in the forest, crawling out of her shallow grave. She narrowly escapes the suffocating death, only to collapse on the solid ground. This represents that, in this toxic relationship, even though she has escaped she did not get out unscathed and the damage is irrevocable. For any fan of horror, true crime, or dark imagery as a whole, “leave me for dead” is a guaranteed favorite, showcasing the fact that GAYLE is not only a singer and a songwriter, but also an absolute, well-rounded creative artist.

Taylor Gayle Rutherfurd, better known as GAYLE, is an 18-year-old pop-rock singer-songwriter. In 2021, she signed with Atlantic Records and released her 3x Platinum single, “abcdefu”. Quickly the song went viral on TikTok and Instagram, gaining her a significant following on social media. Her hit single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and earned the number one spot in multiple international countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany. The massive success resulted in her earning a Grammy Awards Song of the Year nomination, a Billboard Music Award nomination, and two MTV Video Music Award nominations. In March 2022, she released her debut EP, a study of the human experience volume one, which included “abcdefu”. In October 2022, she released her follow-up EP, a study of the human experience volume two. Then in December 2022, she released a special EP, a study of the human experience volume two and a half, which included unique remixes of songs from both EPs. With all these incredible accomplishments, GAYLE has proven that she is a force to be reckoned with and has declared 2023 as her year. She was a special guest on Taylor Swift’s sold-out Eras Tour as an opening act for 15 select tour dates, including opening night in Glendale and closing night in Los Angeles. Additionally, she spent her summer as a supporting act on the European leg of P!NK’S Summer Carnival Tour. This fall, she will be heading back on the road for her own headlining tour, the scared but trying tour. Check out her social media for information on show dates near you! I will be at the Los Angeles show so if you are in attendance, come say hi!

Written By Karlee Skipper



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