Kelaska released her newest single, “Tightrope,” on May 13. Born Kelli Wright, Kelaska is a Connecticut-based artist who got her start writing music for her YouTube channel. She draws influence from indie pop, punk rock, and the late 1990s/early 2000s. “Tightrope” is deeply personal to Kelaska, as she used her own life experiences to write the lyrics. The song is about the ridiculous standards women feel the need to live up to, and how that toxicity manifests itself. Everyone who listens can immediately relate to the frustration she is feeling.
The lyrics describe angst and the need to shed everyone’s expectations, but Kelaska keeps her voice measured and controlled. It sounds like she has come to terms with these expectations and is learning to just be herself. Producer Mackenzie Christensen creates a backdrop of pop beats and soaring harmonies that support Kelaska’s melody. The song starts off a bit sad, accompanied by synth and keyboard chords. However, after the first chorus, punk guitars drop in and the song takes on a more passionate feel. Kelaska credits Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” as the inspiration for the transition from emotional and sad to angry and emboldened.
The video for “Tightrope” was filmed in one shot, using a minimalist approach to create powerful visuals. Kelaska walks through a forest in a long flowy dress before sitting at a large vanity. There is something haunting and beautiful about this shot. As she sings, she smears her makeup and covers herself in mud. As the video comes to a close, she pours gasoline all over the vanity, throws a lighter, and burns the whole scene down. It’s cathartic and emotional, perfectly capturing her message.
Kelaska’s song hit me immediately, and I was flooded with memories as she described the marketing of beauty products and the pressure to count calories. It’s impossible to meet everyone’s expectations, but it’s not always easy to just shrug them off either. Kelaska does a beautiful job with this track, so be sure to give it a listen.