Serotonin or Sarah Tonin?
The song was written at a tough time, during the Covid lockdowns, I wanted to write about the importance of friendship and the joy it can bring when you have been feeling isolated. The song also taps into the idea of getting a ‘natural high’ from the surge in your serotonin levels that comes from love and friendship.
Phoebe Willo on “My Friend Sarah Tonin”
Having just launched as a singer-songwriter this September, twenty-year-old Phoebe Willo has definitely proved to be quite an exceptional young artist. Beginning her musical journey during the COVID pandemic, the singer’s first single, “My friend Sarah Tonin” is a delightful introduction to what should be a standout career. Full of enjoyable melodies, the song is a simple bare-boned piece that will captivate your heart.
Thematically the song details the beauty and importance of friendship and the fear and hardship of letting go. Much like the love and bond between Pooh Bear and Christopher Robin, there is a heartwarming innocence between the protagonist and “Sarah Tonin” that only strengthens once you understand the lyrics. With clever lines that play off “Serotonin” and the titular “Sarah Tonin,” you fend off tears, knowing that perhaps the duo might not be a pair in the near future.
Take all the money in the world, to buy us more time
Open your eyes, there’s a path to the fields of paradise
Cos I’m just scared of letting go, I don’t see how I’ll cope
We’re just to high up in the sky, I thought I could fly
Lyrics to “My Friend Sarah Tonin”
With the base of the song just being electric guitar and vocals, the two components genuinely bring a lot to the table. An island of chill, the guitar provides easy yet interesting chords that keep the audience engaged while the vocals continuously take your breath away with each listen. Small subtleties such as the inclusion of a shaker, background harmonies, and piano voicings at “1:20” and “3:00” showcase an immeasurable about of depth to the song, bringing the emotion from a 10/10 to an undeniable 11/10. Overall, Willo’s musicality deserves recognition for creating a stripped-back song that holds enormous weight in execution and delivery.