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Only You Can See It

by Emily Reo

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1.
03:19
calico and a dove dominos mirrored in the windowpane vertigo, as above so below, locking eyes with hurricanes do you know what you love will it grow, will it fade or stay the same sharp needle drawing blood from a stone, chlorophylling up my veins i caught a dangerous bouquet is this the last time i'll see ivy grow and die i watched my body float away a spark to objectify, flying unidentified promise to stop depending on you for comfort and maybe pulling the rug from my feet would make my standing less shaky promise to block the ember don't let my body burn baby i think the world is ending so won't you bury me in the tornado and a flood reap and sow, cutting down the cherry tree landscape won't survive on status quo map of ideology tomorrow will become a shadow covering society afterglow of the sun will overflow eyes with sparklers of phosphenes i saw a comet of debris bleeding the moonlight out of your starry eyes i tried to read the lines between sorry that's classified, at least we can say we tried promise to stop pretending that i've been sleeping well lately daydreams of pepper and Peach but i don't need you to save me promise to block the ember until it's cloudy and raining i think the world is ending so won't you bury me in the burning sandcastles turning into glass figure 8 rotate to reset the past burning letter sign turning into ash double 8 on a pill and photograph burning sandcastles turning into glass figure 8 rotate to reset the past burning letter sign turning into ash an 8th is a 4th changing form and exploring promise to stop contending if we could make it back safely i'm scaling bluffs on muir beach but i can't feel my heart racing (i saw a comet of debris) promise to block the ember (bleeding the moonlight out of your starry eyes) until your vision gets hazy (i tried to read the lines between) i think the world is ending don't let it bury me in the ground
2.
03:26
tracing my anxiety but i can't make out the path i drew embracing my sobriety but it doesn't have a thing to do with how i live 'cause i won't die by cigarettes or lightning unless it strikes inside my mind and my body idles glowing braiding silk on my spine back burned in flickering light i left my outline up in sweetwater more occupied from a hollow tree i've been spirit hosting i say there's nothing wrong that i'm just not where i belong lessening the gravity prolongs the time my thoughts distort into a weight that crushes as i fly like cinder blocks on kite strings to everyone i left behind i'm so scared to die i am not living braiding silk on my spine arms burned in flickering light i found my shadow down on pine island less occupied from a hollow tree i've been spirit hosting i found a plot of land i made it permanent sapphire map of energy faded like a gradient from a sprouting seed you can find me ghosting can't enjoy the things i used to every night i'm stuck in my room every night i'm sick in my room but i'm always thinking of you every night i'm stuck in my room every night i'm sick in my room would you understand if you knew that i'm always stuck in my room every night i'm sick in my room but i have a screen to look through every night i'm stuck in my room every night i'm sick in my room wanna feel the air of summer nights in parking lots with ice cream am i running out of time to have a life fated for growing braiding silk on my spine face burned in flickering light i saw my silhouette in winter park unoccupied from a hollow tree i've been spirit hosting i found a plot of land unearthed some rocks and gems blood ruby sheen opacity faded like a gradient from a sprouting seed you can find me ghosting i could build a new world for you but we'd still be stuck in my room every night i'm burned by the moon
3.
03:36
i found you alone a lighthouse, precious stone uncovered, unknown cut a diamond built a throne you found me in ice a water rising sign a fire, a spice burned your face into my mind high, unsatiated, dry my stomach in my eyes catching fireflies, illuminate the sky when sunlight turns to shade and seconds turn to days would you still want a taste a signal shot through space to someone far away are you real, can you feel my energy called you to tell you this screen's an illusion you don't have warm blood but your currents are human stick to me light up my room i'll infuse you with voltage and sparks running through you life is a peach, isn't it sweet spit out the pit control alt delete dug up that power from under my feet low battery at shows transmission over grows command line overflows, now everybody knows when sunlight turns to shade and seconds turn to days would you still want a taste i wanna see your face, i wanna hear you say that i’m real, you can feel my energy touch me through the screen, tell me i’m your queen in a dream can you see my candy unwrapping
4.
03:59
value even numbers on volume exist in a vacuum we are starting to lose energy viewing moon in apogee driving, hidden road reuniting distance dividing choosing our trajectory mastering cartography leave the map inside W tower watercolor eye a scaleless butterfly are we just getting by idly unsatisfied craving transparency but when you look at me there’s just a cavity frozen physicality one finger to the sky a bird of paradise can never learn to fly when did we stop feeling high the earth is soil and sea this weight is you and me embracing gravity regaining identity cloudy basement and choking when i’m alone smoking in the woods my favorite spot looks south tasting colors with my mouth tongue tied, subjectivity exiled pleasure in your life you have been cutting your loss i’m not the both of us never thought the ending would empower you’re a honeybee, i am a flower watercolor eye a drifting butterfly becoming satisfied separately identified a sacred unity a shifting reverie evolving naturally we belong to nobody two fingers to the sky a bird of paradise can never learn to fly growing roots is just as nice the earth is soil and sea this weight is you and me embracing gravity underneath the orange tree
5.
02:01
6.
03:56
sometimes it feels like i’m swimming with sharks just reading books by myself in the park and when i’m walking alone after dark i don’t want your yell, don’t shout me out over my headphones i hear you telling me to smile and then you reach for me bit in the ocean bleeding where is your self-control now you’ve been talking for a while you don’t even let me speak you think you know everything the days i’ve patiently waited while things i know are clarified or debated your eyes close when you talk about champagne my eyes roll back so far i see my brain and there is so much you try to explain that i don’t wanna know, keep to yourself i load into the show you ask if i’m somebody’s girlfriend not seen as capable just someone’s property the days i’ve patiently waited while you miscalculated — i don’t owe you anything you stand in front of me blocking the view but i’ll climb ladders to see over you and if there’s something you think i can’t do don’t need your company, don’t knock me down what do you deserve from me n-o-t-h-i-n-g why do you always have to be so c-r-y-p-t-i-c save the calls for my kitty c-h-a-r-l-i-e wish you had earned that PHD in r-e-s-p-e-c-t how many girls in this city are getting t-i-r-e-d finding a sense of security through h-i-d-i-n-g wish i could swim but i’m in your teeth b-l-e-e-d-i-n-g wish you had earned that PHD in r-e-s-p-e-c-t
7.
03:43
tired little tiger with a pounding heart you fire off a beacon through my brittle arms i'm searching for a spark on every path i run my clock hands start to crack under the winter sun so i count fearless little fighter with a broken jaw you know that you could set it but you've said it all you run your fingers through the lake to draw a line i push on every anchor ’til my palms get tired and i drown i'll celebrate your birthday when it's frozen icicles will melt into an ocean a fading green balloon came into view appeared out of the blue, i wished it to lead me closer to you, i watched as it flew a fading green balloon above you magnetic little viper with a venom clutch connected unexpected diamond in the dust your patterns shadow canyons of a creasing smile a season to eclipse the apple in my eye or leave town train stations are hushed with words unspoken i'll celebrate your birthday in slow motion a flying red balloon came into view appeared out of the blue while learning to be alone with you, i watched as it grew a flying red balloon above you spirit hiding, you are trapped in a portrait future sighting, i am reading my fortune senses idling, you are floating in orbit magic finding, i am coming right for you loose time you count it out, count it out cut ties i'm leaving town, leaving town sink lines you drown it out, drown it out change my mind i'm lost and found, lost and found a soaring black balloon above my view appeared out of the moon while looking to sever myself from you, i watched as it blew a soaring black balloon on the move tired little tiger with a crowded heart
8.
03:57
something familiar caught in a smoke screen locked in a mirror swallowed the key bound by a ceiling inside an aviary filled with memories set free buried the day glow under the willow mind’s eye in shadow we saw the same ghost tasting september cinnamon cherry i can’t remember what i can’t see it’s arbitrary at the will of chemicals that rule my sanity buried the day glow under the willow mind’s eye in shadow we saw the same ghost luminous eclipse superstitious static at night i’ve got my lucky penny, library book and planets aligned like alchemy and i feel kaleidoscope premonitions fragmenting time and see a movie screen, a scene from a dream playing in rewind it’s imaginary buried the day glow under the willow mind’s eye in shadow we saw the same ghost wind becoming stone, blowing wishes from my eyelash can all that i’m forgetting erase me
9.
04:37
sky silver and gold or so i have been told but we don’t have the time to spend picture frames are breaking, clocktower light shaking fallen time and time again just sitting next to you was all i wanted to do staring at the sun ’til i see it when it’s gone would you feel it if i held your arm flower in your hand, born again through fire and sand when the bulb burns out the glass stays warm just getting old with you was all i wanted to do saying goodbye to you is something i can never do but i can’t hold you down, if you wanna go how can i say no watch the garden rose as it blooms and grows from your window throne sinking like a stone letters saved for when we meet tell me all that you have seen mirror over your mouth what do you dream about quiet apartment / thinking you’ll be home soon and pounding head / making one out of two hair on the carpet / physical form of you living above the earth and moon i’ll wear your ashes / carry a part of you around my neck / my arm for your tattoo healing old scratches / are not the end of you a flower grows july through june and when you see it / how much is waiting for you beyond the stairs / as sure as stars above you tenderly freeing / i will always love you you’ll always be my baby blue
10.
04:20
deep and diving loving unconditionally i forgot to breathe keep me striving with all the things i ever hoped for right outside my reach on the beach i climbed a, climbed a rocky cliff catching breath i watched the, watched the fog roll in yelled until i lost my, lost my voice and then only i could hear it all you're bottling reflecting so internally you forgot to grieve draw me what you see how can i know the screen you're viewing you only cry in the movies up in queens i fell in, fell into the dirt following the sidewalk, sidewalk weeds unearthed and the doctor said i, said i don't look hurt only i could feel it picture where you've been, only you can see it somewhere in between, only you can see it aching memories, only you can see it where the grass is green, only you can see it images you read, only you can see it what you think they mean, only you can see it how the mind perceives, only you can see it our reality, only you can see it where there is no one else i set the stage i want where there is no one else i see the things i want where there is no one else i dream of loose teeth, they're weak when i sleep and strong when i eat where there is no one else it's more reverie than memory, they're starting to bleed trees fall down that you'll never hear our lives play in empty theaters

about

Emily Reo imagined a series of humans, alone in movie theatres, watching their lives unfold on the screens. “No one else could see what they saw, or interpret things in the same way,” she explains, reflecting largely on the concept of perception and her song “In Theaters,” the stunning, final track on her forthcoming full-length. “Picture where you've been / only you can see it,” she self-harmonizes, later concluding that “our lives play in empty theaters.”

"Only You Can See It" is a devastatingly beautiful collection of prismatic pop songs reckoning with the complexity of self-possession. Following the release of her acclaimed 2013 full-length "Olive Juice," Reo spent five years writing, recording, arranging, producing and mixing these ten songs—at her apartment in Brooklyn, and at various studios and friends’ homes around New York. It’s her most intricate web of poetry yet, with prismacolor melodies winding through a vast pop vision. Reo employs her classical vocal training more than ever, her sweeping falsetto delivering doubletime verses brimming in metaphor and mesmerizing layered soundscapes alike.

For over a decade, Reo’s vocoder pop songs have played with the space between natural and metallic sounds—with every turn of her voice sounding sweeping, symphonic. Recording and touring independently since the release of 2009’s "Minha Gatinha," she’s continuously released a slow drip of pop experiments via artist-operated imprints. On her 2016 single “Spell,” Reo grappled with all-consuming anxiety, numbness and isolation; here, throughout her latest album, with alternating grace and playfulness, she maps out a constellation of lived experiences that brought her back to feeling herself—facing loss, heartbreak, and death, but also fighting for her health and independence.

Reo’s songs have always been imaginative, and here she considers the space between imagination and truth with a heightened sense of tension that seems to have been bubbling under the surface for a lifetime. There are self-combusting soaring synth riffs, sparseness and then engulfing chaos. Melodies that unfurl into melodies (some of which came to her in dreams). On “Candy”, she continues her inquiry into the artificial versus the organic, a song about digitally-facilitated relationships; through robot sounds, she wonders about the confusion of feeling close to someone through a screen, sung from the perspective of someone falling in love with a machine.

“Balloon” is the record’s most patiently unfolding mini-epic, one bursting with the enormous energy of an expanding heart; an ode to intuition and growth. It’s a song that eventually floats upward as Reo’s vocals criss-cross like a hypnotic choir-of-one, meditating on navigating multiple relationships, and the necessity of self-reliance as a prerequisite for them.

These are the first songs that Reo filled out with the help of a live band, multi-instrumentalists Jack Greenleaf and Felix Walworth, adding a visceral energy throughout, with unexpected builds and breaks. Featuring select additional collaborators, namely Warren Hildebrand (Foxes in Fiction) and Julian Fader (Ava Luna, Gravesend Recordings), Reo’s singular vision grew illuminated by additions of live drums, guitar, bass, piano, synth, harp, theremin, and sax.

“Ghosting” is her most personal song to date - as she sings about tracing her anxiety and sobriety, her words are clearer than usual, like a voice that has been yearning to escape. “It outlines my experience with mental illness - depression, anxiety, OCD - and how it made me unable to live even though I was alive,” Reo says. “It’s about feeling trapped inside your mind, not living your life, not knowing if you’re really living, if this is what your life amounts to.” So often, the experiences, anxieties and illnesses that define us aren't visible to anyone else; only you can see it. Later, “Counterspell” is about overcoming the illness she laid out on “Spell”, using the latter track’s repurposed vocals to show “how anything can be reversed.”

In contrast, the buoyant side B opener “Strawberry” feels all the more powerful, a feminist banger about everyday condescension under the gaze of patriarchy, about navigating fragile male egos in music scenes and beyond: “Wish you had earned that PHD! In R-E-S-P-E-C-T! How many girls in this city are getting T-I-R-E-D?” she belts out. Against the backdrop of “Ghosting” and “Counterspell,” it feels like a victory—the thrill of hearing an artist coming into her own voice. "Only You Can See It" honors what can be the most challenging sight to see: to truly recognize yourself.

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released April 12, 2019

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Emily Reo Brooklyn, New York

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