A 15 second intro, some serene grungy indie chords, then: “Loneliness is a disease and if you have it please – don’t talk to me.”
There it is. An opening lyric that immediately hits. Hard.
After releasing their debut EP, Phantom Studies earlier this year, Berlin-based trio Varley enter the bleak November season with a stunningly enrapturing new single. ‘Disease’ is a simple yet moving song about modern loneliness and society’s aversion to it.
Inspired by Gail Honeyman’s book, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, as well as reflecting on the isolation of big city life in Berlin, native Irish singer-songwriter Claire-Ann Varley found herself writing a song capturing the thoughts and prejudices people have towards being lonely.
Because it is easy to forget that there are people who are alone. And are lonely. People who don’t find it easy to see nor talk to someone. We are surrounded in a consciousness consumed by “putting yourself out there” – may that be through the internet, going out, making friends at every occasion. To be social is a fact of life people expect from other people. And if you’re not – you’re considered ‘weird’. An outcast. And there clearly must be something wrong with you, so please just stay away… An upsetting perspective too often still propagated – and it’s really not okay.
It’s not only the lyrics that get under the skin. The hauntingly mesmerising, tranquil sound of Claire-Ann Varley’s voice – and the way she sings the words – in a way reflects both sadness and empathy. Backed musically by her German bandmates, Matthias Heising and Joschka Bender, the track is kept uncomplicated. It doesn’t need a grand crescendoing end to underline the song’s message but instead wins with its steady and hypnotic vibes that carry from start to finish.
To celebrate the release of ‘Disease,’ Varley have also compiled a playlist over on Spotify called “Loneliness Is A Disease” featuring some of their favourite melancholic tracks. Also worth a listen to. Oddly, some of the songs help with feeling less alone.
Varley’s new single ‘Disease’ will be available on all digital services from 1st November on Seahorse Music.