London-based Italian songwriter and producer Heka is releasing a new EP called swan songs later this month and she has today shared the latest single from it, “Monkey”. She explains:
“Symbolically referencing the “three monkeys” (don’t see, don’t hear, don’t speak) to describe the context of an emotionally abusive relationship, monkey follows thematically from i’m the thorn, expressing a similar sentiment of codependency and conflict in its first section: “you are the part of me that don’t feel good; you, you are a part of me but i don’t feel good”.
“To be so intertwined with someone that they feel like a part of you and at the same time realising that that’s the part that hurts.”
Starting with her mournful plucked guitar and delicate percussive knocks, the feeling of isolation is palpable from the start in “Monkey”. When her mournful voice arrives it is quiet but sharp; a feathery gut punch. Heka does not explicitly cast blame on the other party in this relationship but instead finds herself thinking around the issue in heartbreaking revelations; “you fear only love”; “you own everyone here but I want you to see me alone”. Abusive relationships are a thicket of mental conflict and that confusion is ripe in Heka’s cyclical and half-finished sentences. As the song rises to its elegiac peak, that conflict is unavoidable; “you are the part of me that don’t feel good,” she sings sweetly but her admission hits like leaden thump. “Monkey” then tails off into a subtly sweeping instrumental finale, leaving the singer (and the listener) unclear on what her next action might be in this relationship, this tension maintained right to the last drop.