May 29 — “Without You” by White Blush

Carol Rhyu, aka White Blush

It’s time again to dip into the This is That Song mailbag. I’m pretty excited about this one, which was submitted to me last week.

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Without You” by White Blush (2012, from the “Without You” single).

White Blush is the stage name of ambient dream-pop musician Carol Rhyu. She grew up in Chicago, where she earned a degree in philosophy from Northwestern University. She later moved to Los Angeles to study at AFI. She dropped out after one year to pursue musical endeavors. Those endeavors were interrupted when she took time off last year to direct a short film called Cookie Monster. She’s back making music, and she’s released three digital singles this year. She has another single “Juice of My Heart” set for release any moment now, and an EP hopefully in the works. For now, though, we’ll focus on “Without You”.

Rhyu cites her influences as, among others: Grimes, Julee Cruise, Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins. I can certainly hear those influences. I also hear things like Björk, Tamaryn, Swallow, and The Luyas. I’ll eventually get around to Tamaryn, and this is maybe the 15th time that I’ve referenced Swallow on this blog. On July 20, I’ll finally write about Swallow, so you can see what I’m always on about.

The instrumentation on “Without You” is sparse and airy. The fuzzy guitar is perfectly placed (both in the timeline of the song and in the mix) and it’s never allowed to weigh the song down. The soft rumble of the drums and the drone of the keyboard serve as a tether for Rhyu’s celestial vocals, which elevate the listener to a safe and happy place.

I’m especially fond of the bit between 2:12 and 2:38. The music breaks down a bit and she goes into a non-lyric vocal. I’m not sure if she has someone doing backing vocals or if she’s vocalizing two different parts, but there’s a great harmony — like a chorus of angels.

This is that song.

It’s probably a song about being devastated when people “go away”. It might be (but most likely isn’t) about holding someone captive in a weird Silence of The Lambs dungeon.

Everyone I love is going away
Even you
Everyone I love is going away
Even you

I could crush you
I could crush you

But there’s nowhere without you
There’s nowhere without you
Without you
Without you

So I keep you very close to me
Whenever you feel like
I let you scream
Whenever you feel like
I let you, I let you

I’m almost certain that it’s not about holding someone captive. I just threw that out there because of the bit where she lets them scream when they want to. She’ll just drown the screams with loud music.

Anyway, I really like this song. I like it more each time I listen to it, and it’s got me filled with anticipation about her next release.

You can grab a free download of “Without You” from the White Blush bandcamp page.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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