Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Gracie Gray is one half of the eletro-pop outfit Annaland, who caught significant playlist buzz with their 2018 wanderlust-powered heater “Tokyo.” However, Gray’s latest solo single, “Morphine,” is a slow-burning dream-folk ballad that is thousands of miles away from Annaland’s “Tokyo,” and conversely laments the disingenuousness of on-demand escapism.
Gray’s “Morphine” is what you need for your daily ailments—sonically capable of loosening up the tightness of your anxiety-stiffened neck that you developed at your full-time desk job staring down into a 2010 MacBook Pro, but also lyrically capable of pushing you towards crystal clear consciousness of the bullshit surrounding you. The track is a gentle whirlwind of shimmering textures, with bright electric and acoustic guitars that shine a path through the overcast ride symbols and a melancholic organ that caresses the listener from beginning to end. Although the floating-high-above-the-clouds feel of the track recalls ’90s mainstays such as Mazzy Star and Mojave Three, Gray’s vocals feel more grounded in a tightly enclosed bedroom—more reminiscent of the attitude of Alex G but with the commanding pipes of Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker.
Accompanying “Morphine” is a captivating music video that juxtaposes the claustrophobic confinement of bedroom melancholia with mesmerizing scenes of daydream escape. In the video, Gray goes from drearily longing in her bedroom to wandering through various tranquil backdrops in a dreamlike state during the song’s climax, but reality finds her back in the solitude of her bedroom at the end of the video—the inevitable comedown of escapism. The narrative of “Morphine” and its video are comparable to the opioid itself, as while the powerful substance possesses immense appeal due to its elation of the body with overwhelming relief, the underlying ailment nonetheless remains in tact, unaddressed. Unlike the substance, however, the bliss of Gracie Gray’s “Morphine” is not ephemeral. The video was directed by Michael Priestley and Christian O’Keefe of Overlay Films, and the song is the centerpiece of Gray’s breathtaking debut LP Oregon in a Day, out now on streaming services and available for purchase HERE via Bandcamp.