We’ve previously lavished Danish artist LEW with praise; back in 2016, we premiered her single “Lights On.” Some two-and-a-half-years later, we’ve heard from Sara Lewis Sørensen again via a haunting ballad called “You Said” that makes us beyond happy she’s back.
It also makes us quite sad. LEW songs are generally dejection parties; Sørensen is an unspoken master of the somber. “Lights On” was especially exemplary of how deftly she weaved bleak melancholy and synth-infused Gothic motifs across her 2016 debut album, Black Feathers; “You Said” appears to be the first music she’s released since then, and it tinkers with her usual fare without opening Pandora’s box or shattering the boundaries of what defines a LEW song.
Sørensen’s voice is still an instrument that bears a stirring quality as gentle and grateful as the movements of Olympic figure skaters. Her go-to music video director is still Jonas Bang, and for both “Lights On” and “You Said,” he casts her in the precise amount of light to reveal her face to viewers without fully displaying its defining features, retaining a mystery appropriate for her mourning songs. Both videos splice footage of Sørensen with abstract B-roll that deepens the enigmatic character she so nimbly cultivates.
“You Said” might even be LEW’s most mysterious statement yet, and she achieves its clandestine feeling in major part through a newfound restraint. The song has no notable dynamic shifts, and this characteristic is in itself notable given the hefty quilts of guitar that have sometimes spread across previous LEW tunes. Across nearly five crestfallen minutes of sunken-ship crooning, the song barely escapes the quietude of its drumless first minute.
That intro suggests a loud, explosive chorus. The refrain of “You Said” is, somehow, more muted and dejected than what preceded it. Sørensen’s restraint—specifically, the way the drum and bass parts of the chorus constantly interact with each other and weave intricate patterns while never exceeding the size of undercurrents—is majestic. If “You Said” is a shy, ominous invite into LEW’s shattered paradise, then whatever new album she might be working on is going to be the vilest, most dejected party.