Paola Bennet is a folk-pop/alternative singer-songwriter from Boston, MA, and based in Brooklyn, NY. Her rich, ethereal music has garnered praise from Girl Underground Music, Come Here Floyd, and American Pancake. In May 2020, based on a minute-long clip of an original song, she won a competing spot to perform as part of the 7 Layers’ Still Quarantined festival. With haunting vocals and lyrics steeped in emotive detail, she has drawn comparisons to Phoebe Bridgers, Sara Bareilles, and Daughter. She writes with an aim of honesty, her songs ranging from shimmering ode to haunting ballad to gutsy, raw catharsis. Her forthcoming EP, Maybe The Light, is set to release in spring 2021.
“My Mother Says” is her latest single. It unveils the shame that comes from being vulnerable with a loved one about mental health. The production moves between dreamy electric folk and urgent distorted rock, illustrating the downswing of depressive episodes and the upswing of anxiety. For a bittersweet touch that’s true to the title, the track samples audio of Paola’s and her mother’s voices from childhood home videos.
The emotional nature of the song is mirrored in the touching production and vocal styling. Resonate guitar strums glide behind peaceful vocals, contributing to a tranquil soundscape that eases listeners into the conflict experienced within the singer. Paola reveals her inner struggles – being so affected by depression that she can barely stand up some days but still having to put on an outward mask to pretend as though everything is fine and pretty. Her desire to be vulnerable is evident in her chorus. As the pace quickens and distorted rock instruments take over the soundscape, she wrestles with the idea of wanting to ask for help, but not wanting to seem weak for doing so. The home video audio samples add in a sweet touch as the song continues to build into the culminating need for kindness.