Kacey Johansing No Longer Lives in Hiding

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At the center of The Hiding is a lyric on the title track that gets at the heart of Kacey Johansing’s message. “Everyone keeps hiding what they long to find,” she sings, as if unveiling a universal truth that no one wants to admit that they knew. On this new record, she discusses relationships and love, often as an intrusive observer, though it could all very well be chalked up to an internal dialogue. She is frank with her feelings throughout, and buries her vulnerabilities among beautiful folk-pop melodies, imparting wisdom along the way.

The quasi-ambient few seconds before the first strum of “Bow and Arrow” are now infamous in my house. In those moments the emotions of this record wash over me, as fresh anticipation fades into warmth for the zillionth time, since I listened to this record last summer far too many times to count. The Hiding is a rare album where I cannot strictly decide on my favorite, with moments on all nine tracks that move me all in their own ways, whether in her light-hearted self-deprecation on “The Hiding” (“If my life is a joke, that’s one I’d love to tell”); or her casual admission that she’s never written a love song before on “Power of Love”; or the culminating–and utterly human–loop of balked confusion suggested by the literal round her many voices sing on “Take One Leave One” as well as in the lyrics of “Evergreen”:

“Why’d you not tell me then
We could change anything

I’ve been here before
Did I know?”

Kacey Johansing’s new record impacted me in many ways, but none so much as the accidental intersection with a novel I also devoured last year. My roommate lent me a copy of Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, and the wisdom it bears made it very quickly one of my favorite books. It is told from the point of view of an American overseas in Paris, who is questioning his sexuality though too proud (and ashamed) to fully come to terms with it. The narrator eventually admits: 

“I think now that if I had had any intimation that the self I was going to find would turn out to be only the same self from which I had spent so much time in flight, I would have stayed home.”

Where David in Giovanni’s Room wishes he had been able to live in darkness, Johansing has flipped on a light. It’s not too bright, and still affords many doubts, but she refuses to be an accomplice to self-deception any longer. “I will not be the one to define what is happening inside…”

Kacey Johansing | buy The Hiding | website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Soundcloud | Bandcamp

The Hiding by Kacey Johansing

Best Albums of 2017

2. Kacey JohansingThe Hiding

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