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"Hollow" by Grace Ludmila

In my own moments of rage, I have struggled to find songs that capture the full color of my anger. I think feminine anger is divine, but a lot of gorgeous songs about anger by women express a fury that is more self-possessed than I am. I wanted a song that could hold my anger, as well as my quieter emotions: pleading, desperation, confusion. I couldn’t mind many songs like this until I heard “Hollow” by Grace Ludmila.

This song has the catharsis of a power ballad with the sonic aesthetics of grunge, all while staying true to the emotional heart of the songwriting. The guitar and drums are simple, but the sound is so rich and full. The guitar drags just slowly enough for you to be really present in each measure, yet the song still possesses an energetic rhythm. Expressions of identity are rooted in the verses, and the repeated use of metaphor doesn’t make the song any less personal. I love that the speaker wears different masks in the verses: the speaker is not a dream but sleep paralysis. She is not a poet but a stream of consciousness. Even throughout a song about anger (and so perfectly about anger) the singer builds such a beautiful inventory of language. When she sings, “I’m not a movie screen,” my attention as a listener shifts from the lyrics to the raw vocal ability of Grace Ludmila. This is such tender and personal singing, bringing to mind the power and vulnerability of Alanis Morissette.

In a concise “fuck you” to the song’s subject, the singer assets her refusal to be someone pro bono therapist. I am living for this sweet sound of self-protection. It’s one of the moments in the song that really cements what the song is for: crying in your car after hours of bullshit, or maybe screaming into a pillow in your empty bedroom. But then after the second chorus, it shifts into one of the most dynamic and interesting parts of the song. I can’t remember if I have ever heard a bridge that hushed into a whisper after crying triumphantly in the chorus and verses. The decrescendo signals the emotional apex of the song, and this tension is so gorgeously exacerbated. I have found my song for my anger and the colorful spectrum of my young adult angst through Grace Ludmila. I’m looking forward to listening again.

Written by: Misha Rani Ponnuraju

Listen below and follow Grace Ludmila on social media here!



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