Hard to Pretend

Hard to Pretend is about a different (to Ain’t Weak to Speak) aspect of my experience with mental health, and it covers a darker, more negative side of it. I’ve jammed a lot of words into the verses, and it was a fun challenge for me to sing quickly and accurately, as well as not run out of breath. 

Perhaps contradictory to the message of AWTS, it’s about trying to hide from having to face your problems and talk to people about them. Despite these darker lyrical themes, I enjoyed contrasting with really upbeat, happy sounding music, and I think this represents the sentiment of the song perfectly – hiding something troubled beneath a happy exterior. That wasn’t an intentional choice when I started making the demo, but it soon became clear that it was a perfect metaphor, and I really leaned into making it fun with the backing vocals that come in from the second chorus. 

For the music theory nerds, the chord progression in the bridge is one of my favourites – I use a diminished chord to transition between the major five and the minor six, and then end on a major to minor four (IV-V-#v°-vi-V-IV-iv is the full progression). Bloody beautiful stuff if I may say so myself. I’m also especially proud of my vocals coming out of the stripped back pre-chorus to final chorus where I go down the octave and jump back up on the line “sink or swim, baby I might drown” so keep an ear out for that.