Avery Raquel’s recent release Helpless is an easy-going, soulful single that I could listen to on repeat. Raquel is a Canadian singer/songwriter who has previously released three solo albums, with her next album releasing in 2022. Her working project at this time focusses on ‘Alternative Soul’, showing the artist’s musical diversity that embraces R&B, Soul, Jazz and Blues with the more contemporary Pop influences as well. The artist describes her most recent single, Helpless, as ‘punchy’ and ‘colourful’, and I agree wholeheartedly.
Helpless’ instrumentation with the inclusion of brass and drums, maintains a steady rhythm throughout that provides a beating heart to the song, whilst offering little additions of melodic moments that intertwine with the singer’s voice. The instrumentation compliments Raquel’s sharper instances that can most definitely be labelled ‘punchy’ with a strong support. Additionally, her softer moments are collaborated with a flattering back and forth between herself and the instruments that frame her lyrics well.
The song follows the tale of a relationship coming to its conclusion when the trickling ending can be hard to disconnect from. Raquel’s lyrics are accessible and relatable throughout and starkly accurate to anyone who has been in a similar situation where the admittance of the relationship’s final act can, as she states be “the hardest part.” She explains,
“When someone has a hold on you mentally, it’s hard to let them go, even if you know they aren’t meant for you.”
A reality all too true for many. Her lyrics mention the quiet restlessness when you’re living through those final moments, commenting that the ‘willingness to keep you around, it’s bringing me down’. The juxtaposition works brilliantly in connecting the listener with the paradox illustrated in situations such as these when their ‘brown eyes’ still hit you and yet, you are becoming aware that the relationship’s time has come to a close. Helpless gives a twist to the standard pop breakup songs of the past with a twinge of jazz, a dose of soul, and honesty with a playful mix of fun and transparency.