Orla Gartland Has It Figured Out In Her New Single "Figure It Out"

When I first discovered UK based indie-pop artist Orla Gartland I was hooked. The singer/songwriter has a gift for writing exciting guitar riffs (reminiscent of HAIM’s iconic pop-rock sound) and universally relatable, gut-punching lyrics. Best known for touring alongside dodie (another small UK pop artist), Gartland has acquired a small but impassioned fan base, for whom she has released a handful of engaging tracks. My first encounter with the songwriter’s solo music was “I Go Crazy” (2018)—a tense pop bop that utilizes the deep tones of electric guitar to move the song along and amplify intensity.  Since “I Go Crazy,” Orla has released an EP, Why Am I Like This (2019), alongside stand-alone tracks like “Figure It Out,” the artist’s new, dynamic single.

Released November 1, 2019, “Figure It Out” showcases Orla’s clear-cut vocals alongside disorderly bursts distorted electric guitar. While Gartland’s music is usually guitar-centered, “Figure It Out” features harder rock elements that speak to the pain lingering in the backbone of the track. In a press release for the single, Gartland gave insight into the birth of “Figure It Out” explaining, “I wrote this song about desperately needing space—about asking for it, about being ignored and hoping the other person would eventually read between the lines.” The track, which oscillates between somber and impassioned strokes of electric guitar embraces the duality of emotional heartache. The verses tell a story of uncertainty and distance, while the chorus erupts into impassioned flashes of frustration. 

The juxtaposing elements of “Figure It Out” are intentional and prosodic, highlighting Orla’s abrupt, fluctuating emotions felt post-breakup. Gartland offers more insight into the dissonant dynamic, clarifying, “I felt angry one second and calm the next. I wanted the contrast in emotion between these two parts of the song to feel like night and day.” Orla has created a track filled with anxious, frustrated energy offering listeners an intimate look inside her mind. Orla’s vocals hold their own against the crunching anger of the electric strumming as she effortlessly climbs in rang, utilizing her bright, crisp falsetto (check out time stamp 2:34 to hear her pitch-perfect vocals in action). She almost screams the chorus, “I know I never said it/but I thought that you’d figure it out/don’t have the heart to break it/So I’m hoping you’ll figure it out” pleading with this mystery person to take a hint and, as the title suggests, figure it out. 

“Figure It Out” showcases the confusing nature of breakups and their less than amicable outcomes. When writing the fiery single (along with other soon-to-be-released tracks), Gartland admitted, “I’ve always thought [hearbreak] was such a cliché topic but when I went through it myself and realised [sic] how isolating yet universal the experience can be, it felt wrong to write about anything else.” “Figure It Out” sounds how navigating friendship post-breakup feels: chaotic, exasperating, and raw. Gartland continues to impress, giving fans unpredictable melodies, gritty, electric production, and lyrics so relatable you’ll wonder if the songwriter has access to your journal entries. 

Gartland’s upcoming EP, Freckle Season featuring “Figure it Out” and “Did it to Myself (2019),” is set to release February 2020. In the meantime, you can dance (or cry) it out to her growing discography (my personal favorites are “Between My Teeth (2018)” and “Why Am I Like This? (2019)” and be sure to stream "Figure It Out" here.

Image Source: 2, (1, 3, 4, 5) courtesy of management