Denvre shares somber lullaby “Once Upon A Time”

Singer-songwriter Denvre straddles the line between dream and nightmare on her newest release “Once Upon A Time”.

Denvre, the dreamy singer-songwriter who has been wowing listeners since 2018, is back today with a new single, “Once Upon A Time.” Though the track’s name may conjure ideas of calming bedtime stories and make-believe, the song is really a dark look at what happens when dreams don’t come true. Despite its grim messaging, Denvre‘s clear and beautiful vocals combined with the bright production succeeds in capturing a feeling of hope amidst despair.

Originally from Mustang, Oklahoma, Denvre grew up with music in the house as the daughter of a piano teacher. This upbringing is apparent as her list of musical influences is eclectic, ranging from the classical jazz musings of Ella Fitzgerald to the contemporary electronic duo Sylvan Esso. The singer-songwriter first introduced herself with single “Wait It Out,” which explored the difficulties of being in a long distance relationship. In some ways, “Once Upon A Time” could be viewed as a response to “Wait It Out.” Both tracks seem more interested in the fantasy aspects of a relationship; the songs portray a narrator who is overthinking a connection with their partner rather than really living it. However, while “Wait It Out” ultimately explored the battle between patience and pining, “Once Upon A Time” seems to be more about how letting go may be the best way to start over. Denvre seems to allude to this shift in her new track, singing, “I know I was tangled in the moment once upon a time.” However, she ultimately concludes that perhaps she was never happy at all. “I’m still not satisfied,” she repeats over and over in “Once Upon A Time.”

“Once Upon A Time” is the most pared down that Denvre has ever been. There are no pop embellishments or clubby beats backing this track. It opens with Denvre singing, accompanied only by a windchime-like keyboard. This allows for her prowess as a singer to truly shine, setting the stage for her gorgeous yet devastating vocal performance to soak up all of the attention. Still, as the bridge closes in, Denvre‘s leans into her signature love for sonic chaos: the basic instrumentation is colored in as lavish strings and her layered vocals create an ocean wave effect, with the music washing over everything. At the height of this crescendo, she laments, “I got carried away / I don’t wanna know.” As the song comes to an end, “Once Upon A Time” snaps back to the simplicity of the beginning with the artist looking towards the future with guarded optimism, “High hopes got caught up in the clouds / But I can hear the whispers in the wind / I’ll begin again.” Listen for these whispers in the wind at the link below.

Claire Greising