Review: "November" - Holly Jade
Bittersweet nostalgia deeply hits listeners in Holly Jade’s latest single, “November.” The poignant track illustrates the complex, yet delicate emotions that come with losing someone too soon. Her heartfelt lyrics hit like a sucker punch to the gut for listeners that resonate with the feeling of losing a loved one. Regardless of if death occurs through a sudden tragedy or an expected illness, grief is impossible to navigate. No one ever truly stops mourning; even when things seem to get better, one triggered memory can bring it back. In “November,” Jade navigates these intricate emotions and summarizes them in one beautiful ode to the friend she lost. Through detailed lyrics, she uses the verses to describe the carefree memories she had with her friend before they were taken from her. In the first pre-chorus, she even sings the tragic line that foreshadows the grim message: “We always dreamed about how life would look when we’re older.” Then in the chorus, she contradicts this by revealing the heart-wrenching truth of the future. Jade sings: “Kids talking shit// Too busy looking for trouble to think too far ahead.” This exposes the harsh reality that we truly do not know what we have until it’s gone. When you’re young, you think you’re invincible and that you have your whole life ahead of you. This is how it should be, but life is cruel and unfair. This leads to the final half of the chorus that absolutely wrecked my heart and brought tears to my eyes. The singer continues with the lines: “You know I never believed in God, but damn if I did// I’d say he takes the best ones early// Cause when we were kids, who knew you wouldn’t make thirty.” These poetic lyrics evoke a deep feeling of heartache and sorrow in the listener, as they realize just how young Jade’s friend was when she passed. For many listeners, it may remind them of their own painful memories of losing loved ones. And as someone who recently lost their grandfather, although much older and lived a long, fulfilled life, this track cut significantly deeper to me. With Jade’s comforting words, she makes her audience feel less alone while bringing to light the difficult topic of grief and death.
“November” consists of a soothing alt-pop production that beautifully complements Jade’s compelling vocals and highlights the melancholic lyrics. The song is introduced by a brief muffled ad-libbed statement as the producer says: “Cool, I think we have it. Let me do one more.” Then, the first verse immediately begins. Simultaneously, an acoustic guitar and Jade’s soft vocals kick off the nostalgic storyline. In the background, soft vocal echoes harmonize, and another ad-lib part is subtly heard. When the pre-chorus hits, soft airy synth sounds, and unique sound effects are added to provide an extra layer to the production. As the chorus is introduced, a synth beat is added while the rest of the production continues through. In the post-chorus, the production pauses. It is unclear why at first until the guitarist slides their hand on top of the strings to mute the instrument signifying a “mistake” while Jade’s muffled voice speaks the phrase: “I forgot the words for a second.” This production ad-lib was, perhaps, left in to bring emphasis on just how difficult singing this topic was for Jade. Then the second verse begins with the same production as the first, with the addition of the beat. Then in the pre-chorus, the beat softens before the full production is returned for the second chorus. This continues to the emotional bridge, where the vocals become muffled and the guitar goes silent, utilizing only the beat. This pulls in emphasis on the heartbreaking lyrics: “Let’s keep pretending you’re too busy killing it to call// I keep my distance so I can’t even think of you at all.” In the second run through of these lyrics, the muted effects stop while layered vocal effects are added. This further boosts the intensity of the words, before the final chorus hits with the full production. At the end of the last word, the song abruptly ends with the ad-libbed line: “Yeah fuck it, that’s fine.” With the help of producer, Jamesfromtheinternet, and co-writer, Stephen Ordoñez, Jade has created an unforgettable alt-pop ballad that perfectly encapsulates the woeful emotions behind the profound lyrics.
Holly Jade is an alt-pop singer-songwriter from Western Australia. Music has been a part of her life since she was seven-years-old when she learned to play the guitar. Initially, she was trained in classical guitar but eventually turned to her current sound. The singer moved to Los Angeles in 2019 to pursue her music career. The following year she released her debut track “Lessons” with artist and producer, Alone Architect. In the three short years since her debut, she has made impressive waves in the industry. She has earned several songwriting achievements as a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. Recently, she wrote and recorded a track for the NBC television series, Vampire Academy. Additionally, several of her songs have been featured on the show’s official soundtrack. Her music has been featured on multiple prominent Spotify playlists, such as, New Music Friday, Crush, Fresh Finds AU & NZ, and The Local List, as well as Apple Music’s New in Alternative playlist. Check out her socials for news about upcoming releases!
Written By Karlee Skipper