In an era where the mainstream feels full of repetitive and formulaic music, Leo comes as a breath of fresh air with their new single ‘Half Unconscious’: a song about reclaiming your sense of self that seems to be such an honest celebration of realising when you are in a negative situation and being free from it. Taking inspiration from artists like Cavetown and Snail Mail, Leo crosses lines between indie pop and indie rock throughout the song to create a beautiful mix of passion and vulnerability.
Throughout the song, there seems to be a growth and progression of moving past a person, which is actually the way that the song came about. When discussing the upcoming single Leo said “I initially wrote ‘Half Unconscious’ in 2015, back when I was really straight… I know, right? I had so many issues. But there was this person I really liked, and we were hanging out or whatever – it wasn’t extensive at all, but I was in a very emotional place, so I wrote this song being like, ‘I’m a bit of a shit and I understand why you don’t like me, but oh my God, you’re still amazing!’ But in 2021, I went back to the song and I looked at the second verse, and it was very… Preachy. It was like, ‘You could never do anything wrong,’ but in reality, this person was harmful in quite a few of their actions.! So I rewrote the second verse to kind of reclaim my sense of self. I’d been gaslit and manipulated, without realising it, for like six years – and then I realised, ‘I can’t move forward with this song if it’s going to be this preachy, man-loving thing.’ So I changed it and we recorded it, and Jono came up with the ending part where it gets yellier and yellier, which was really cool. I think it’s just about reclaiming my own sense of self, while also recognising the negative in that situation.”.
Knowing the story behind the song makes it much more meaningful, but hearing how well the story gets put across just makes it more impressive. The way the song builds until it reaches the climax at the end adds a lot of emphasis and raw emotion to the song, you feel as though you are really listening to and feeling someone having this sudden awakening. I think a lot of this comes from the drums, they start off somewhat simple and a lot quieter than the guitar, but by the end it is as if you can feel the anger and regret through the music.
With a song like this, it is incredibly important to discuss the lyrics and the vocals and my main focus was how well it represents what it is like to look back on how someone you had too much patience for treated you. Having part of the chorus have lines that mainly start with “Because of you” adds to the feeling of the song, it shows that realisation that what someone else put you through is not your fault and the raw emotion that Leo sings each line with lets you feel and live how these moments and these memories made them feel.
The specific lyrics of the chorus are also gorgeous “Because of you, the graveyard is singing / And because of you, you cause desolation / And because of you, I can’t help but wonder / What might have been / Because of you…”. They perfectly give someone the image of someone who destroys, hurts and gaslights people then leaves them after they have destroyed them and it summarises the whole story that the song tells. I think it is lyrical moments like these that will give people such a strong connection to ‘Half Unconscious’ as most people have or had someone like this in their life and hearing songs properly represent that is going to make it so much easier for people to cope.
This is one of the most beautiful, raw and honest indie songs I have heard from an artist. Whatever Leo does next I cannot wait to hear it and be a fan of theirs for it.
‘Half Unconscious’ is out February 17th.