© 2024 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Aisha Burns' 'Must Be A Way' Will Break And Fill Your Heart

Aisha Burns'<em> Argonauta</em> comes out May 25.
Stephanie Larsen
Courtesy of the artist
Aisha Burns' Argonauta comes out May 25.

Aisha Burns' heart was like a glass emptying and filling itself. Her mother had died, but she had also found love in a new relationship, all at once. The conflicting emotions would be enough for any heart to spill over with grief and joy, but Burns channeled it all into her new project.

"Must Be A Way" announces the singer's upcoming album Argonauta with a psychic bruise that never quite heals. "Must be a way, the blues are so black / And my heart an empty shape / That I can't recognize before my eyes," she sings in a warble that scales and dips the Western skyline just before it turns dark. Burns howls like Kitty Wells on a lonesome landscape, accompanied by world-weary acoustic guitar and distant bells.

Burns tells NPR Music it's a song about depression that warps reality:

For "Must Be A Way," I imagined what the physical manifestation of depression might look like if it took on the form of a geographical space. I finished the song in Marfa, Texas, a place I truly and joyously love, but the sense of sparseness and isolation I found while further exploring the West Texas desert seemed to apply. Like some sort of damaging mirage, depression bends the lines of reality and leaves you in a fight to discern what's real and what's only an illusion.

Halfway through "Must Be A Way," you can hear her time in Balmorhea, the loosely defined post-rock/ambient-classical ensemble for which Burns plays violin, seep through. The string arrangement here follows the mournful melody but haunts the edges with discord as Burns navigates a "desert of mirrors."

Argonauta comes out May 25 via Western Vinyl (physical, digital).

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Listen to the Viking's Choice playlist, subscribe to the newsletter.
KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.