The train of singles preceding Samia’s sophomore album Honey has continued, with “Pink Balloon” and “Sea Lions” being released today, joining “Kill Her Freak Out” and “Mad At Me.” The double single release makes a lot of sense, as the songs hold hands, finding completion in each other.
“Pink Balloon” is a classic Samia heartbreaker, full of honesty about another person’s life, and her love for them. It’s so intimate in that you, along with her, are only peering in at first, trying to help ease this person’s pain without fully knowing it yourself. But then over muted, bare piano chords, Samia’s voice twists towards and away from you, writhing under the pressure of a relationship filled with hurt, making clear the impossible floating of the situation. The lyrics are the strongpoint of the song, with flowery, romantic phrases mixed up between heartbroken second-guessings of the relationship: “You sing of love persistently / Sometimes when you sing to me / I still believe I know you.” It’s all said plainly enough that it instantly makes sense in the heart of any listener, but she chooses everyday words and shapes them into a simple beauty. Her singing seems to hold all these emotions suspended, and when the song ends, you’re all of a sudden not sure where to go from there.
Whereas this track is short and, well, not entirely sweet, “Sea Lions” clocks in closer to five minutes. The beginning makes it feel like a second movement of “Pink Balloon,” both singles combining to tell one large sad story, focused around smaller objects and moments—a pink balloon, a hat, idly watching sea lions swim around on a screensaver. And although at first it seemed strange to have two such similar tracks released together, you quickly realize that they need each other to fully make their point, to build and evolve the story and not just leave the listener confused with one half of what happened. “Pink Balloon” shows you how hard she tried, and “Sea Lions” watches things fall apart. Samia comments, “‘Pink Balloon’ is trying to make amends by looking at it from a bird’s eye after everything got too complicated. ‘Sea Lions’ is not zoomed out – stewing in it, too angry to work it out or let it go, finding old voicemails and trying to decide where it went wrong on a loop until you have to run it off, running until you were never angry in the first place.”
You can watch the linked videos for “Pink Balloon” and “Sea Lions” below. Honey is out Jan. 27, 2023 via Grand Jury.