Earworm: Bat for Lashes’ “In God’s House”

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Weddings are often viewed as a joyous celebration of eternal monogamy, but for British singer Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes, they can be extremely harrowing. This duality imbued within marriage acts as the emotional core of her new song “In God’s House” from her upcoming concept album, The Bride. From just one listen, you can hear Khan agonizing with fear as she waits for her groom to get to the church, only to discover that he will never show up.

A bewitching, mystical synth-pop track, “In God’s House” is one of Khan’s most ambitious and emotionally stirring works to date. Its ethereal synths glisten and propel Khan’s masterful, vulnerable vocals, which swing effortlessly from a gentle whisper to a shrieking cry. “Through this veil they can’t see / The fog of death unveil me,” Khan sings woefully, almost as if the world is slowly closing on her. But the most heartbreaking moment comes when Khan realizes that her lover has been killed by a fire, repeating the word “fire” until she can no longer catch her breath.

In a sense, “In God’s House” is a tonally opposite counterpart to last month’s single “I Do,” which offers a much more light-hearted narrative on Khan’s hapless bride through a swooping harp instrumental and lyrics that reflect her giddy optimism on her wedding day. Both songs are like two sides of the same playing card: “I Do” saw Khan ruminating anxiously and excitedly over nuptial commitment, whereas “In God’s House” found her searching for answers on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Entrenched within the nuances of marriage, Khan understands that where there’s happiness, there’s also darkness. If “I Do” is the sweet, rosy prologue to a wedding, then “In God’s House” is the nightmarish climax with an uneasy, ambiguous resolution.

Grade: A-

 

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