The powerful “In the Body” is a newly released single from TaughtMe, the project of Utah native Blake Aaron Henderson. Described as “a plea or prayer spoken directly to the body,” the effort grows from intimate acoustic-set introspection into a climactic pop spell. “Body, I’m so afraid,” the vocals let out there, magnified by chilly synth pads underlying.
The artist, raised in a “devout Mormon home,” embraces a personal connection with one’s body here, and the importance of trusting one’s sexuality — rather than being fearful of it. Similarly, in the face of health struggles that impact the body, there’s a further emphasis on the importance of a confident and vigor-full human experience. “In the Body” emits a beautiful lyrical confidence and perspective, lamenting to “not hold back tonight,” alongside a diverse expansion from folk-minded lushness into hooky pop unraveling.
The project has seen international tours and four full-lengths over its nearly two-decade existence. “I think of my songs as psychological monuments or personal monologues shouted,” Henderson says.
Henderson elaborates on the track in detail:
“This song is a plea or prayer spoken directly to the body. Like many of us I struggle to be present in my life, to stay in my senses. There are so many ways and reasons to check out, to go numb. In the song I beg my body to pull me along, to keep me awake and engaged. I tried to express a deep urgency and a powerful longing. Life is so short! I want to feel as much of it as possible but I often go dim. Maybe I have my reasons. I was raised in a devout mormon home where I was taught to distrust my own sexuality, taught that masturbation was a grave sin that offended god—as if the body is something to defend against. There’s another layer too. I’ve recently been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an auto-immune disease that causes mysterious pain and terrible stiffness. My body is attacking itself. It’s sometimes difficult to trust my own organism, to release into it. I want be alive during my one brief chance. I want to lengthen this time by feeling more of it. But It’s not easy. I usually fail. I’m trying.
“In The Body” began as a birthday present for my girlfriend. My wallet empty and her birthday fast approaching, I decided to gift her a melody. I made the voice memo while wandering San Francisco. For many years I tweaked and iterated the song but it never felt quite right. Eventually it found its true form when Úlfur Hansson “subverted” it, finding a new direction altogether. I fidgeted while he dismantled all of my work—but it was good discomfort and I came to see that he was right. The song opened up! We worked to create contrast between the acoustic—more earthy—verses and the expansive choruses with their layers of astral synths. Everything locked into place once Samuli Kosminen—working remotely from Finland—added his dense percussion and explosive sound-design. “
This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of July 2023’ Spotify playlist.