The internationally acclaimed musical duo Oh Wonder burst back into the music scene in 2019 after years of self-reflection and growth. After spending a lot of time working together and developing a romantic relationship, the pair have re-established themselves in the indie-pop world that they became such icons within. During one of the most crushing international crises the world has ever faced, Oh Wonder has begun to release Home Tapes, a collection of songs that the two have written and recorded from home. This returns to the group’s roots, as they originally wrote and recorded a song per month when they first came together as a group. The latest release from Home Tapes is “Lonely Star.”
A piano opens the song before some light pulsating percussion is introduced along with a voice. The voice says, “Literally at this second, like in everything that’s happening in the world…Being a human is pretty much the hardest thing to be.” This voice comes from the introduction to Oh Wonder’s music video to their song “All We Do“ from 2016.
Two beats pass and the lyrics begin. Soft, almost whispering, the pair sings somberly. With little other background noise, they sing about the quiet moments before tragedy and panic. They sing, “Back seat sat at the local bar/Dressed to the nines to impress the dark… I’m just hoping for good weather…” Lines like “dress to the nines to impress the dark,” emphasize the isolation that is currently occurring across the globe.
The pulsing percussion continues like a heartbeat. When the verse concludes, so do the background instrumentals. It feels as though the heartbeat rhythm was a blanket that is pulled away. The duo refers to the constant feeling of being alone that plagues so many during social isolation and quarantine, though in life in general. They sing, “I’m a lonely star/Is there anybody out there?” On the final line, the beat becomes a high piercing noise that almost mimics the high pitched winking noise that stars made when shimmering in children’s’ cartoons and movies, such as the “second star to the right” in Peter Pan (1953).
Lyrics turn darker in the next verse, as they contrast the initial verse’s lyrics, now saying, “I’m just hoping for bad weather.” The underlying rhythm has returned, sounding like a person running a track – around, and around, and around, never-ending. Although the song is about being a “star,” the lyrics make it clear the duo feels as though they’re not truly stars, relating more to the sense of being isolated and distanced like a star in the sky, “I guess I’ll be a somebody that nobody knows.” After repetition of the chorus, which allows the lyrics to pack a punch, the song fades away, like a picture fading to black, like a sky without a star.
This is dreams fading to dark, emphasizing the feeling of consuming darkness, loneliness and hopelessness that are explored throughout the track.
Thoughtful and somewhere on the edge of somber, “Lonely Star” is the sensation of staring out the window into the night sky while standing in a darkened room, all alone at night.
You can stream “Lonely Star” everywhere!