Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Dezelle is known for her beautifully constructed songs with careful and clever words that flow along a cascade of sound. Always pensive and expansive, she orchestrates grand, sweeping tunes that resonate deeply in the hearts of her listeners. Honest and painfully straightforward, her newest single, ”the woman you love when you leave,” is a bittersweet confession to the man who betrayed her.
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The single kicks off in somber fashion with slow, haunting and echoing instrumentals. The opening lyrics, ”you’ve been lying more than usual, and I’m pretending to believe … ” cut deep like a knife on open flesh. Describing not just her partner’s betrayal, but her own tendency to go along with the deceit, Dezelle explains how she played along with the facade to quell her own fears of being alone.
In her candor, Dezelle realizes that loving herself is more valuable than settling for someone else’s attention. She then questions, rather rhetorically, why her partner would choose to lie to two women, if he loves both of them or if he treats them the same or differently. Expelling her own morbid curiosities, she breaks the chain of abuse that has kept her in a position of emotional submission for so long and walks away feeling more self assured.
“This is one of the most important and healing songs I’ve written to date,” Dezelle writes in an Instagram post. “This song was written for anyone who has ever found themselves playing a role or deep in self-deception and found the courage to flip the script and live more truthfully. But of course, we look for ourselves in art, and like all songs, this is a sonic mirror, so do with it what you will, and whatever you see in it is equally true.”
Explaining that the song was partially inspired by her own experiences and by archetypal roles of women in the content she consumed at the time (like Betty Draper in ”Mad Men” or reading about Martha Gellhorn, who married and later left Hemingway), ”the woman you love when you leave” tracks at first, the one-dimensional space women in media are often forced to occupy. But, after establishing the stereotype, Dezelle breaks the mold and asserts her self worth over pleasing a man without tearing down ”the other woman” in the process; pitting two women against each other over a man is another unfortunate archetype.
”It was also inspired by a friend who befriended her partner’s mistress when she found out about his infidelity,” notes Dezelle. “The other woman told her they were both just “looking for love,” unaware of the deception, and reflections of each other. That inspired the second verse, and to me, the song is also about the power of sisterhood.”
Caroline Dezelle, who sticks to her last name as her musical moniker, has released five EPs under the name Karen Dezelle and began releasing music as Dezelle in 2021. Her music (both as Karen Dezelle and Dezelle) has been featured in tv and film and her lyrics were included in the Lyrics as Poetry project, a journal featuring lyrics of singer-songwriters that can be found in bookstores and museums across the world. With plenty to come, Dezelle’s new single and upcoming work mark an exciting new chapter for her music.
Words: Patti Sanchez
For more on, make sure to visit her website and follow her on Instagram.