- Karlee Skipper
Review: "left lane" - Jenna Carlie
Jenna Carlie’s latest single is an infectious track that consists of relatable lyrics and an unforgettable melody. The song details the surreal moment when you realize that you have caught feelings for someone you were merely “just friends” with. Carlie explains that the track was born out of a handful of different emotions—the “ache, anxiety, adrenaline, and excitement” of wondering if these feelings are reciprocated. She begins the track by setting the scene with the lyrics: “Here at your apartment again// Talking ‘til 3am// Laughing like little kids at nothing.” She paints the picture of herself with the guy she secretly loves having the time of their lives together, despite the otherwise mundane moment. They feel naturally comfortable with each other, and Carlie knows she can be herself around him. She then continues to reveal little details that indicate how they both feel. She sings, “You always tell me to let you know// When I make it safely home// But tonight I’m tryna gain my composure// On the side of the road// I really thought that we could be just friends// But honestly what was I thinking.” Although it could be a friendly gesture, Carlie wonders if his concern for her safety could imply a deeper meaning. He cares for her in a way that her other friends do not, leaving her thoughts to overwhelm her mind on her drive home. These lyrics are the perfect build up into the chorus where the hook is revealed. She sings, “You got me in a headspace lately// Hope you can’t hear my heartbeat racing// ‘Cause boy I swear you drive me crazy// Going over 80// In the left lane.” These lines connect to the lyrics about her crush’s concern for her safe arrival home. Her mind is too preoccupied with replaying interactions and questioning his feelings toward her that she is now driving recklessly without meaning to. At the end of the chorus, she switches the perspective by asking him, “Do you feel the same way?// Are you going over 80 in the left lane?” This change emphasizes the hopeful thoughts that are running through her mind. The lyrics are sweet, inquisitive, and fun, making “left lane” a flawless summer anthem for the hopeless romantic.
“left lane” contains an upbeat melody with optimistic lyrics that lifts the spirits of listeners and makes them want to sing along. The song kicks off with a muffled synth sound effect that resembles a car door opening and closing with Carlie harmonizing the melody in the background. After a few measures, the verse begins with her prominent vocals no longer muffled. The synth instrumentation remains slightly muffled with light tapping to keep the beat. When Carlie sings, “laughing like little kids at nothing,” she closes out the line with soft laughs in the background, making the lyrics more personable to the listener. When the pre-chorus begins, a keyboard is heard playing muffled chords that lead into the chorus. Throughout the first half of the chorus, the production pauses between lines, providing an emphasis on the vulnerable yet sweet lyrics. The background vocals are harmonizing with higher notes that further enhances the charming atmosphere. In the second half of the chorus, the muffled effect and production pauses disappear, while some of the synth sounds continue to cut out periodically. In the second verse, fast synth beats and muffled echoing vocals are added that provide an additional dynamic to the song. Then, guitar chords are picked up in the pre-chorus, further enhancing this new dynamic. When the chorus returns, the guitar remains but plays only a single note like a bass line, before it begins harmonizing with itself. The full production continues into the bridge while Carlie’s angelic vocals guide the listener through the song. After the bridge, the production cuts to only the vocals and soft synth production that slowly builds on the instrumentation, before exploding back into the final chorus. Carlie showcases her phenomenal vocals and her impeccable songwriting talent with “left lane,” making the song an unforgettable addition to her discography.
Jenna Carlie is a singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, now based in Nashville. In 2019, she began working with her friend and producer, Steven Alexander Chen, better known as STVN. In November of that year, they released their first joint single, “Heartstrings.” The single has over 500,000 streams on Spotify alone. Carlie released her first solo single, “Little Things” in 2020 and her follow up single, “Homeland” with Searching for Light in 2021. In 2023, she was featured on WLDHRT’s EP, Welcome to the Wild. Carlie’s sound derives from a mix of indie and pop to create catchy melodies that highlight her relatable and honest lyrics.
Written By Karlee Skipper