Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my pursuit of happiness. I graduated college in December and this summer marked six years since I moved away from home. Where do I want to live? What career path do I want to take? And what actually fulfills me? These are all questions for which I haven’t arrived at definitive answers yet. Nonetheless, throughout this process, I’ve found in Appleby’s “Lady Sunshine” and “Young Lost Love” two constant companions. Both songs have a contemplative vibe that has kept me centered and allowed me to explore my individualism.
Alongside the public uncovering of his face, Appleby’s latest singles represent his own evolving sense of identity as an artist. Stripped down, intimate and honest, “Lady Sunshine” and “Young Lost Love,” are striking standalone records. Together, though, they tell an expansive story through their thematic juxtaposition within a relationship’s lifeline. The former is placed in its early aughts where love and innocence roam free; the latter addresses the realization of its inevitable and dreadful end.
The songs’ lyrics seem to communicate with each other as well. Appleby tells Lady Sunshine “I need you when it starts to snow” only to find out in “Young Lost Love” that “It’s the middle of October,” and as the seasons start to change, “there’s no reason to stay sober.” Elsewhere, the tenderness of “you are a dream I never want to wake from” is met with a stark reality as he laments “hope you know, life is hopeless without you.”
Elias Abid’s production helps Appleby capture the youthful exuberance found in “Lady Sunshine” with a folksy guitar melody and the melancholic longing embedded in “Young Lost Love” with eerie synths. “Lady Sunshine’s” warmth feels like floating in the sky, harnessed by clouds, whereas its counterpart is a reluctant gravity pull —slowly descending towards heartbreak. “Young Lost Love” also subtly features children’s laughs in the background almost as if it tried to convey that the only thing left over from “Lady Sunshine” is nostalgia.
Appleby hasn’t explicitly confirmed a direct connection between the two songs, but even the artwork feels part of the same storyboard. The girl in the “Lady Sunshine” cover is placed in the upper right corner amongst of the clouds while the boy in “Young Lost Love” is at the bottom looking up at a girl with a yellow shirt drifting away.
After years of keeping his identity a secret and sparsely releasing a handful of records, Appleby’s + Happiness will drop this Friday. I’m looking forward to getting to know the multifaceted artist better —and myself as well.