The first single from Local Natives’ 2019 record, Violet Street, opens with two urgent and dueling sounds: soft piano chords juxtaposed with a tight and rugged baseline. This balance of nervous energies catapults the listener into the theme of “When Am I Gonna Lose You.”
“Wait, when am I gonna lose you?
How will I let you slip through?
Careless or unkind?”
In a Consequence Of Sound Track by Track feature, guitarist, Ryan Hahn, speaks of how this track isn’t about a relationship near its ending, but rather the anxieties one might have about losing a relationship that is amazing and fulfilling. Inspired by a trip that lead singer, Taylor Rice, took with his then girlfriend to Big Sur (they’re now happily married), the driving beat of this song and the airy harmonies Local Natives brings us in their vocals gives the listener a feel for what it must be like to drive the California coast with someone you love and are afraid to lose.
As someone who is recently married and also suffers from terrible anxiety, “When Am I Gonna Lose You” is a beautiful track that expertly pinpoints tip-toeing the line between utter devotion and crippling fear. The things we love most are what can hurt us the greatest when they are lost. This overbearing desire is displayed perfectly in the bridge of this track, both by melody and by lyric.
“I remember you closing the shutters
And laying down by my side
And the light that was still slipping through
It was painting your body in stripes
I remember the trees tumbling down
Like an archangel choir
And the ocean was all we could see
And I knew that I wanted you”
What hits most beautifully about this bridge is that when we first enter it, the instruments and vocals are subdued but the bass can still be heard clear in the background, pulling us from one line to the next. In the finale of the first repetition, the string is cut and on the second repetition, the ‘archangel choir’ explodes and opens up the entire song.
Local Natives have always been an expert at layers and levels — vocally, lyrically, instrumentally — and “When Am I Gonna Lose You” is no exception to this standard. If you are looking for a song to pull you to tell the person you love that you love them, this is a track that will haunt you towards it again and again.
(Song recommendation by Nishat Ahmed)