Magazine Matter Short Song Essays

SSE: the anatomy of feelings

Screenshot of Lowri Evans and Tom McRae in Careful video

It’s only my bones that are holding me
Only my soul that is haunting me
And after all, it’s only skin keeping it all in

Only Skin – Evans McRae

The title track Only Skin of this new album by songwriters Lowri Evans and Tom McRae is a thing of beauty. The whole album is, by the way, which includes excellent singles High & Lonesome and Careful. But this one I’ve really fallen in love with over the past days. While yes, it can be interpreted as a love song (“it’s only my tied-up tongue that’s keeping me from telling you”), in me this triggered an exploration of anxiety and the fragility that is a part of life for many.

Although the genesis of this song pre-dates the pandemic, it’s fitting that the lyrics of Only Skin can be read as the fear of bottled-up feelings spilling out. With many of life’s pleasures out of reach and, even worse, many experiencing loss and sadness close to them, the past year has been overwhelming. The song sounds like a lullaby or ballad, with a haunting refrain describing that exact feeling of: “what if I can’t keep it together?”, for after all, it’s only skin keeping it all in

So many feelings, so little keeping them together. Reading the lyrics this way, the song becomes almost like anatomical description of feelings, of anxiety, of uncertainty. A song means what you want it to mean, I know, and sure it can also be a love song if you need that now. But I need it to be this. And there’s plenty of other love songs on the album by Evans McRae.

Short Song Essays are our way to bring a little attention to the songs that matter, and that you may have missed. We publish one whenever the need arises. 

Stefan is the founder of TimeSpaceMatter. He writes about culture, creativity and other things he finds interesting. He lives in Nijmegen (The Netherlands).

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