Single Review: Katie Dey Explores Bittersweet Love In A Virtual Realm In ‘dancing’

Katie Dey | dancing (single) | Run For Cover Records

Album Release Date: 24 July, 2020

Australian bedroom-pop producer Katie Dey has often exuded an aura of genuine honesty and a deep sense of intimacy within her past albums: dreamlike and introspective, the artist has sculpted a body of work woven delicately with gossamer threads, lovingly personal in nature with a dream-pop style that isn’t afraid to embrace a soft tenderness when it comes to inner struggles and melancholia.

Her previous, third studio album ‘solipsisters‘ saw a personal exploration of the self – written in isolation, with the expression of Dey’s poignant, and at times painful honesty reflecting an inner dialogue.

As she has expressed herself, as we grow as people (with the main form of expression in this case creativity as artists / musicians) we want to be able to showcase the evolutions we have experienced over time, yet there is one aspect that remains true throughout our own personal growth: our connections with other people. 

Now so more than ever have (the majority of the entire world) required the internet to feel some sort of sense of ‘normalcy’ – in order to connect with the outside world and those around us, with our main connections sadly intangible and only really available to us right now in the digital realm. That is the beauty of being able to connect online, however.

solipsisters’ saw a dance between Dey’s personal perception of alienation and relationships, while her upcoming fourth album ‘mydata’ sees similar themes – but in one of the most tumultuous and painful times the majority of us couldn’t have ever imagined, a pandemic. Instead of purposeful self-isolation, we’ve found ourselves in necessary quarantine, which has left the majority of us longing for the tangibility of physical connection perhaps more so than we ever have.

It’s pretty explicitly about an internet relationship, which can be precisely as meaningful as a relationship that’s physical, because a long distance relationship is obviously physical too, in a sense. It’s physically felt in the body.

Katie Dey

With the release of her single ‘dancing’, along with its accompanying animated music video, Dey’s upcoming album release – scheduled for July 24th via Run For Cover Records – seems more concise than ever before, with a level of relatability that can’t help but shoot an arrow straight through our tender human hearts. Bittersweet indeed.

Before speaking solely of the track itself, it must be noted that, aside from Dey’s evident electronic prowess when it comes to crafting intimate dream-pop: the addition of her beautifully written, tenderly heartbreaking lyrics and the accompanying video stand out in a manner that works so incredibly well altogether it could easily bring one to tears: in a good way. For some context, the official music video for ‘dancing’ was filmed in the online, virtual realm called Second Life, which allows users to create avatars and explore digital environments while connecting with people from around the globe.

Despite its subject matter, the tone of the track is radiantly upbeat – teeming with layers of electronic textures that one cannot help but feel happily drawn to. Waves of gentle synths dance joyfully with the playful use of percussion, jovial beats and kind shakers, with an authentic feeling of genuine fun running throughout the track. The soundscapes Dey sculpts at times sound delicately orchestral, allowing for a spellbinding dramatic element without coming off as ostentatious – a vivid expression of ethereal, otherworldly emotion. When it comes to the accompanying video and lyrics, Dey’s honeyed, silken vocals sing:

i am myself a shelter 

my own personal hell girl

there’s no other place i can go

inside i am unbounded

constantly unraveling

there must be a place i can go

cuz i want to be going

infinitely going

go forever inwards outwards anywhere

Within the wholesome nature of the clearly anime inspired video, we see who is perhaps Dey’s blue, cold-coloured “hell girl” avatar, forlorn and lonely until she comes into contact with a bright, joyous orange and red toned Fox girl: offering her companionship in an isolated environment by deciding to dance together for a performance. Watching the Fox girl encourage Hell girl to keep on dancing until they move in sync together, with the candy-coated electronic textures and bittersweet lyrics Dey has composed so tenderly – ‘dancing’ can’t help but bring a smile to one’s face, even through the tears.

i need you to be my choreographer

dance until everything hurts

i can take it

i am stronger than you think

i am sick

of dancing by myself at night

i will learn how to take flight

you could come with me

if you wanted to

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Rating: 8 / 10

Feature Image: Katie Dey by Cal Elizabeth Birchall