PREMIERE: Laura Wolf - Good

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Laura Kerry

Laura Wolf is a one-woman orchestra. In live shows, she drapes herself in instruments, trading her cello for electric guitar and vocals as she builds complex songs one voice at a time with the help of a loop pedal. “Good,” the first release from Wolf’s upcoming debut LP, Stitch One, models the artist’s process beautifully. Beginning with a low, urgent cello patter—a steady foundation almost all the way through—she adds escalating lines of cello that swell and recede in intriguing rhythms. Percussion enters, breathy at first, then more substantial, followed by quiet electric guitar arpeggios.

Throughout the course of “Good,” Wolf’s vocals also build. At the start of the song, her voice is soft and pretty, carrying leaping, intricate melodies that sound light and optimistic. When she first sings the refrain, “I’m just trying to be good,” it tapers into a near-whisper, then dances delicately in a high register. As “Good” develops, though, it darkens. Wolf first started working on Stitch One while in the hospital last year, and the song alludes to that setting and her experiences there. In the bridge, she half-sings, half-speaks about a knife in her back, snarling, “I jumped every time they touched my fucking spine” as a chorus of voices repeats “I just want to be good” in the background.

Transitioning from soft to tough and gritty, the song suggests that the effort to be good—healthy, virtuous, or otherwise—can be challenging. In her new release, Wolf meets the challenge with a lush and distinctive sound. Check it out on "Good," and keep an eye out for Stitch One, out soon.