If You Saw Me Now by Gretchen Pleuss

Review by Carly Tagen-Dye


If you haven’t heard of Gretchen Pleuss, there is no need to fear. The Akron folk singer is on her way up in the scene, sure to blossom as the new year unfolds. Influenced by the likes of Nick Drake and Paul Simon, her music pays homage to the basis of singer-songwriting, while creating her own unique sound as well. “If You Saw Me Now”, the second single from her long awaited album Daughter of the Broader Skies, caters to that technique perfectly. Simple, yet intricate, the track stays true to the folk singer’s gentle drawl and intricate lyricism. This song is one that speaks loud and takes control of the feelings that seem the hardest to grasp - something that is not as easy as it sounds.

Pleuss tackles songwriting in a graceful and considerate manner. A simple guitar melody and soft drum beat shifts the song’s focus towards the lyrics instead. Each line is engrained with a careful, poetic touch, weaving a narrative that is all the more powerful to listen to. “If You Saw Me Now” starts and ends with a question. The speaker, adrift after heartbreak, turns to her mother for solace. She is lost after losing the one she loves, unsure of where to go or how to carry on. Having not “felt much in a year”, Pleuss begs for some light to help her find her way through.

There is a grieving process after loss, and love is no exception. Pleuss encutates this by delving into smaller details that tend to be overlooked. She sings of the friends she has lost as a result of shutting herself away, and of the feelings of emptiness that consume her when she is on her own. We can feel her internal agony as she sings the title lyrics “If you saw me now” with soft and crooning vocals. We can feel the uncertainty and sadness that comes with letting someone go. If only there was a way for them to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Though Pleuss wallows in feeling, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That time for reflection is what her whole message is about. The lyrics are intertwined with that pang of regret we all feel during the despondent times in our lives. However, Pleuss is considerate of heartache, and allows herself the time to heal. “If You Saw Me Now” is a strong soliloquy written by an even stronger individual. As sung in the closing lines, after being asked if she could ever love again, “I don’t know, but I really hope so.” Pluess embodies optimism, encouraging us to reflect, but learn to get back up again. It’s up to us to learn to forgive ourselves and push forward in order to bloom. Perhaps that is the most beautiful part of it all.

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