REVIEW: “Fish Like Me” Turns Gaslighting Into a Pop Song
Nory-J has been expanding his sound playbook since the disbandment of Caravella. His previous (and first!) single, “Tough Cookie,” was an acoustic power pop track about loving yourself. “Fish Like Me” not only switches thematic trains of thought, but continues to push Nory-J ever further into unknown musical waters.
“Fish Like Me” kicks things off with a buzzy synth; a triumphant sound that would fit just as well in the opening of an early 2000’s high school movie as in a Mario Party mini-game. It evokes the body-high of waking up energized to start your day for no reason, that pure chemical excitement. It is driven at the same time by a fun bassline and glittery guitar, intoxicating you further into the song.
All of that comes to a halt when you start to pay attention to the lyrics. The “Fish Like Me” that Nory-J “would like to see” are other people who have escaped manipulative relationships. It’s a smart move; pairing a poppy exterior with a message about gaslighting creates an almost sinister atmosphere the longer you listen. In reinforcing the deceptive nature of this kind of relationship through its instrumentals, it mimics the uncomfortable experience of realizing you’ve been lied to by someone you love. That sounds heavy (and it is), but the song manages to remain enjoyable anyway.
Though the topic of gaslighting might be too heavy for some people's preferred pop listening, “Fish Like Me” is worthy of attention from those looking for an upbeat track with substance. If you’re interested in checking it out, it releases on October 15th on all popular streaming services.