On her indie rock project Petal, Kiley Lotz writes lyrics with a conversational lilt, deep emotional resonance, and an abstract flair. Songs like "Magic Gone," the title track from her sophomore album, are devastating because they draw a path to closure that's not only not a straight line, it's rarely ever linear. The opening lyrics of "Magic Gone" sum up that ambiguity neatly: "And I swear to god, if you touch me one more time," it begins, sounding like a threat, before lapsing into a possible serenade. "You know the spot, between my hairline and my spine."
The video for "Magic Gone," premiering today on The FADER and directed by H.S. Naji, also deals with apparently competing appearances. Lotz stars in several different outfits: pancaked with makeup and strapped in a blonde wig, wading in a bathtub, and against a projection of classic domestic scenes. The visual tension between persona and authenticity emboldens the song, already a rousing push for self-empowerment through distorted guitars and untouchable melodies.
"The song is about distance and time in a relationship and trying to grow up together," Kiley Lotz told The FADER in an email. "For the video, Naji created a beautiful story about putting on a costume or performance everyday and trying to be true to yourself, Which is very much a part of any relationship. Sometimes things just aren’t alright, and you need to voice those parts of your emotional life to have healthy relationships with yourself and others.”
H.S. Naji wrote: “I wanted to explore the difficulties that societal expectations impose on people, particularly regarding gender and how it’s performed. Knowing that, for a lot of people, well-being is almost impossible to find within preconceived notions of gender, I wanted to use Kiley’s great acting abilities to express a pivotal realization and an immense sadness in a mundane environment: that sometimes the weight of existence is just too much to bear (or, bare).”
Petal's new album Magic Gone is out now via Run For Cover Records. Check out her current tour dates with Camp Cope here.