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Karen Harding Sings a Siren’s Riddle in “I’ve Got A Secret”

By Charlie Maybee

Australian singer-songwriter, Karen Harding, is brooding and mysterious in her new single “I’ve Got A Secret”. A slow burn acoustic jam that holds its cards close to the chest, but not without letting you experience the deep impact of this unknown information.

Throughout the song, Harding’s acoustic guitar strums with a thoughtful, but driving pulse as her vocals wail with yearning. There’s a feeling of lamentation that seeps through each note, like the titular secret will harm Harding in some way, but at the same time she expresses a shred of hope that she could share it with someone.

Repeatedly, she asks “Will You Stay?” as a sort of proxy question, making the listener question whether they are willing to commit to a deeper understanding of Harding’s situation. It’s a kind of pseudo-ultimatum that makes the secret equally alluring and dangerous. A seductive dance that would drive someone to madness if left unchecked for too long. Somehow, Harding seems to understand the power of changing the siren’s call into the siren’s riddle. The unanswered question drives the mystique of the song to a satisfying effect.

With the guitar as a through line, there is a nice ornamentation of orchestral ambience that builds throughout the song. Soft strings that raise the emotive stakes to a romantic degree and a soft, yet resonant bass drum that acts as both a slow, forceful heartbeat and a knock at the door which has yet to be answered. All roads lead back to the choice that the listener must make: do you want to get caught up in the web of Harding’s secret, or narrowly avoid certain dread?

“I’ve Got a Secret” is available on major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Find this and more great music on the Alchemical Records Multigenre Mixture playlist on Spotify.

Charlie Maybee

Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.

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