Some songs may be there to brand themselves into your mind from the moment you press play, but some songs are meant to just carry you from one place to the next. Karima Francis‘ new single “Say” does both of these, sweeping you along on a peaceful, ambling journey across four minutes, as the London-based musician conjures images of dusky sunsets and lulling landscapes. She does this with just the music alone: a wearied, almost aching guitar, what sounds like the last piano notes of the day, and a steady drumbeat that gently edges you along the path.
Francis completes the feeling with her words, offering up couplets that could have all sorts of meaning stuck onto them. “I’m walking around like I’m drunk but i’m sober / I can’t wait for all of this to all be over,” she offers at one point, and it could easily be about a doomed relationship looming over her as it could be about the global pandemic lagging on and on. Turns out it’s about both and some more, as she reveals:
“[It’s] about the isolation caused by Covid-19 and how that can impact relationships closest to you. The song lyrics came to me whilst I was on my daily run, the whole cycle of Covid repetition was becoming overwhelming. My ongoing battles with CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) became more outward and started to impact those around me.”
“Say if you want me to go / Say if you want me to leave,” she quietly entreats in the chorus. Right now, listening to “Say”, it’s very much the case that we want Francis to stay and play on.