Charlene Kaye, who know performs under Kaye, launched her music career eight years ago with indie-pop love songs like the Darren Criss-assisted “Dress & Tie.” She has evolved into bigger and bigger pop sounds as a solo artist, taking a break to perform with San Fermin for a few years. On latest single “Closer Than This,” she’s a fully realized pop goddess, taking task with the often 2D representation of female desire in love songs.
“Closer Than This” starts out with a meaty, electrifying riff that carries on throughout the song as Kaye lays out exactly what she won’t do, like a sexy, hook-up remix of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” On the chorus, Kaye promises that she’s “never gonna open up” and “never gonna let you closer than this.” With this particular lover, she’s in control and knows the limitations of what she can and wants to offer them.
“I wrote this song because I felt there were a lot of narratives in music about women expressing their longing for commitment and relationships, but I had a specific experience where that wasn’t the case,” she wrote in a statement on Instagram earlier this week. “Women especially are sold this idea that if they’re not giving constantly, they’re innately bad — giving to others, giving to a partner, giving to a family. This song is about a time when I didn’t want to give to anybody except myself.”