Sometimes our deepest romantic endeavors are utterly inadequate, leading us to become emotionally drained and distraught. “A relationship based on lust never had a chance. Try to make it work and you, always with your hands, pushing me, tugging at every broken string,” Jacqueline Epstein sketches out with her new single “Smoke,” a decidedly-lyrical portrayal of her own journey from feeling worthless to cutting her losses and moving on. The brawn of the story alights upon minimal production–flecks of acoustic guitar and waves of tender percussion.
Epstein could have used the opportunity for a cinematic, vivid, story-driven music video, but she allows the lyrics and her feathery voice to do the driving. Premiering exclusively today, the visual bleeds with dull colors of black, white and rusty red. Even the man playing opposite her is left indistinct. “Songwriting has always been my way of venting, I write what I can’t voice. It’s a beautiful thing when you watch your pain turn into art. The unmoving character in the video represents how my love interest was there with me physically, but mentally, he was a ghost. I decided to leave his face out so anyone who watches the video can put their own face to the character,” Epstein tells Popdust about the video.
“Do you have your doubts? Am I your deepest endeavor? You have it all figured out…,” she later surmises. The play between the pain dripping from her voice and the jovial melody (but still laced with a certain profound sadness) anchors her storytelling with a raw humanity. Despite her best efforts, nothing could salvage the relationship from crumbling back into dust. “Late nights, you called me over. Late nights, I can’t be sober,” she weeps, bookending the narrative with quite a brash, heart-breaking statement.
“Smoke” serves as Epstein’s debut single and is available to stream now on Spotify.