Holly Humberstone’s latest single, ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’, is about loneliness, isolation and rejection, and is also probably the most vulnerable song she has ever written.
It’s hard for me to express how powerful this song is. From a melody that tells a story by itself to lyrics that are honest and heartbreaking in every sentence, it strikes a heart-breaking chord, topped off by Humberstone’s perfectly fitting voice.
Altogether, ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ is a beautiful combination of an upbeat song and one of the saddest set of lyrics I have ever heard.
In the single, Holly talks about a relationship with someone with whom she feels she has a connection, but that person, instead of focusing on her, prefers the company of another girl.
In the first verse, she sings: ‘There was a possible connection on the table for a second / Then she made such an entrance’, which is my favourite line of the whole song. It means that you can get very emotionally involved in a relationship, but when it is one-sided and your interest makes other connections, it hurts very deeply.
By the chorus, Holly decides that she is unable to hold out in this suspended situation. She refuses to wait for some sign that the person she loves will change their mind and want to be with her, singing: ‘And, no, I’m not just gonna lay here and bite my tongue / I only wanna be here when she’s gone.’
The music video for the song perfectly reflects the feeling of being invisible. Humberstone illustrates to the audience being locked in a small space where she is alone and where no one will come to change it.
As she crawls through the vent shaft, Holly’s only company is solitude and the thoughts in her head. The words that suit this image are the conclusive lines of the song’s chorus: ‘I’m bored, I’m ignored, I’m being out of my mind / The walls are way too thin’.
Holly Humberstone is the master of a new generation of pop music. A genre that has always reminded me a bit of kitsch has a chance to renew, thanks to singers such as Holly. With sensitive lyrics, strong melodies and an original voice, Holly is on her way to great success.
If you haven’t already, it is extremely worthwhile giving Holly’s back catalogue a listen, starting from her first EP, ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’.
The EP’s titular single tells a similar story to many of Humberstone’s releases, focusing on young love and the thrills and mistakes that come with it. The emotions explored are ones that we’re all familiar with; the beginnings of an interest in someone, getting drunk to have the courage to say something, and those first magical moments when you know there’s a feeling in the air, but it’s all mysterious and exciting.
‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ seems to be a continuation of that story. The difference, however, is that it ends rather pessimistically; Holly being heartbroken, ignored by someone she probably fell in love with, and her crush moving forward with someone else.
I recommend watching the music video and the live performance for ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ on Friday 28 May, where the melody is acoustic and the performance is very touching.
Alongside this release, Holly has recently announced her next EP’s title as ‘Emotional Grim Reaper’. With that collection of songs expected in November, I can’t wait to see what else she will show us (and how many times it will make me cry).
If you would like to see Holly Humberstone live, the singer-songwriter is performing at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms on Wednesday 10 November, with tickets still available.
Feature Image Credit: Polydor/Interscope Records, Jordan Curtis-Hughes