Following an album announcement and the release of the single “Diamond Studded Shoes,” Yola, the soulful country singer from the United Kingdom, is back with the title track of her upcoming record: “Stand For Myself.” In an Instagram post, Yola introduces the track by saying, “It’s a call on us all to extract our heads from the sand from fear based reasoning, and engage with the world and its people. To reject narratives that push you towards a lack of empathy.”
Simply put, this song is a form of protest. A track filled with unabashed, growing confidence that feels like coming into the light at the end of the tunnel. The instrumentation helps portray the message of the song as the guitars and drums pick up and feel heavier as Yola’s voice keeps getting angrier, grittier, and more passionate as the song progresses. This song is much darker than the lead single despite the hopeful feelings in the message; the distinction between the two is obvious and shows Yola’s versatility as an artist setting her up for a highly anticipated album release at the end of July.
The lyricism helps “Stand For Myself” state its conviction as Yola sings, “You wanna feel nothing / Just like I was, a coward in the shadows / No view from above.” She transitions into the pre-chorus by showing a change in narrative, “Now I’m alive, it’s hard to explain / It took this much time, and took this much pain / You can get here if you’re willing / Let go of yourself for a new beginning.” Not only is she being self-reflective, but she’s inviting others to go on this introspective journey with her.
The end of the song explodes like bright fireworks as Yola keeps repeating and putting emphasis on the same lines, “I used to be nothing like you / I used to feel nothing like you / Now I’m alive, alive, I’m alive.” Those powerful words are repeated over and over, being belted by Yola’s striking vocals, until the song trails off into a haunting, instrumental ending. “Stand For Myself” acts as a self-proclamation to staying true to oneself and letting go without constraint. On Instagram, Yola ends her post by summing up the song perfectly, “Joy is hiding in those neglected shadows, and I hope you feel that sense of hope and possibility in this song, like I felt when I was writing it.”
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