Feel /// Norman Lake

Creative outlets can do wonders for mental health. You don’t have to be an artisan to paint or a wordsmith to write. Creating something that’s an extension of you and your own personal vision is more than enough. For singer-songwriter Norman Lake, music was the natural path forward after dealing with issues of mental illness and drugs. With his latest single, “Feel,” the Los Angeles-based musician puts forth an introspective rumination that exemplifies breaking through the haze of mental anguish.

Throughout “Feel,” there is a lo-fi cloud that hangs over not only the melody, but Lake’s vocals as well. At times, there’s a slow, waltzing twangy resonance that reaches out from underneath a murky layer of feedback. In addition, Lake’s vocals are predominantly hushed to the point of becoming part of the melodic mist. All of this builds upon the idea of a mental fog that is difficult to shake. 

Hesitancy is one of the effective, dramatic tools that Lake uses to convey a metaphorical, hanging by a thread state of mind. In whispery fashion, he delivers the first line of “didn’t want to pull away” before flowing into the next line: “but it’s easier than pulling the trigger.” After “trigger” there is a dramatic pause before the rest of the lyric: “on what I want to say.” It’s subtle, but it speaks volumes about mental fragility. In that brief moment, it gives you pause before the relief of hearing the rest of the lyric.

After relaying notions such as his “mind simmers with things I shouldn’t consider,” Lake caps it off with a resolute “this is how I always feel.” Eventually, he lets his mind boil over and delivers a wrenching rendition of this line. In addition, the melody turns out some explosive bursts of guitar and drums that shatter the placid mood. By the end, stewing frustration has given way to erupting rage.

As you listen along to “Feel,” you are on a journey through Lake’s mental anguish. What results is the culmination of channeling pain into a single outlet. For Lake, put all of that discontent down into words and notes and came out liberated on the other side. 

Written by Travis Boyer

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