Perhaps it’s indicative of our hectic modern lives that so much new music is compact, succinct and polished. Current mainstream trends are reflected in neat, punchy pop songs characterised by repetition and gloss, everything smartly tied together in brusque, professional production. It satisfies our need for instant gratification as well as our desire to get things done as quickly as possible. At times, modern music can feel like fast food – quick, easy and disposable – but it doesn’t have to be.
Taking things at her own pace is Portland-based musician Haley Heynderickx who offers a respite from the breakneck speed of modern life on her latest track, the sprawling ‘Worth It’.
Heynderickx’s music recalls the folk trends of the sixties and seventies, her vocals rolling over strummed electric guitar and gentle percussion. But ‘Worth It’ is a track that refuses to be boxed in by expectations, morphing and shifting several times throughout its almost eight minute duration. What begins as a lullaby-like porch song soon gathers pace, the guitars ramping up before easing back down again, later regrouping for a snappy pop chorus. Heynderickx’s voice alters too, changing from a relaxed, echoing drawl to something more urgent, with her voice cracking as she wails over the track’s final act.
If this switching in pace and temperament sounds exhausting, it isn’t, Heynderickx blending her track’s various moods with ease. Talking about the track’s origins, Heynderickx says she was “living in a house with six women at the time and attempting to pursue music as more than a bedroom act. Writing ‘Worth it’ was a cathartic release, just allowing myself to take up space and make as much noise as I could in our basement without driving my roommates too crazy. After several weeks, this song got carved out. It has been through a lot and it means something new to me each time I hear it.”
Given the wealth of influences it draws on and the depth of its composition, it’s easy to find new meaning in ‘Worth It’ with each listen. It’s a track that sees Heynderickx at her most exposed and doubtful, questioning herself and her motives, lost at sea amidst the ever-changing arrangement. ‘Worth It’ is a song that encapsulates a breadth of emotions and pours them into eight minutes of volatile, capricious folk-rock, keeping the listener guessing throughout, refusing to mellow into a predictable rhythm. With her debut album I Need To Start A Garden due out next month, Heynderickx looks set to expand on the questions posed by her latest track on a record that’s shaping up to be an unconventional and intriguing folk-pop hit.