Grace McLean – “My Lovely Enemy”


“My Lovely Enemy” is exemplary of the riveting, theatrical songwriting from NYC-based artist Grace McLean. Releasing ahead of the debut full-length My Lovely Enemy, out next year, the title track stirs in its nostalgia and otherworldly reach — projecting old-Hollywood strings amidst an escalating, impassioned vocal presence and sporadic orchestral pushes.

The initial lyrics portray the whirlwinds of experiences and emotions one beholds in life — “these lips have touched so many things — good food and drink and songs to sing.” The retelling of one’s last breath, and binding oneself to another, pushes forth an artistic direction into matrimonial themes.

“This song is inspired by a poem of 12th-Century mystic Hildegard von Bingen, about Saint Ursula’s martyrdom,” McLean explains. “In it, Hildegard expresses gratitude to Ursula’s killers because their destructive violence gives Ursula her deepest desire which is to be united with the Divine, something she could only achieve in death. It made me see the scene of martyrdom as a marriage ceremony, and I recognized that in adjusting the frame from mourning to celebration I could imagine the joy in relenting to and accepting sacrifice or loss.”

The “gimme gimme blood,” refrain is particularly impactful with this context, exuding an excitable tone in celebrating — rather than mourning — the acceptance of sacrifice and loss. The “daybreak,” vocal sweltering proves especially consuming, driving into a fervent final minute. “My Lovely Enemy” is a thrilling showing from Grace McLean.

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of September 2023’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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