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Song You Need to Know: Lizzie No, ‘Narcissus’

Brooklyn singer-songwriter reflects on lessons learned with this crisp alt-rock gem

lizzie no

Anna Azarov

Singer-songwriter Lizzie No first introduced herself as a sharp self-examiner on her folksy 2017 debut, Hard Won. The swooning lullaby that served as that album’s title track was about the inglorious labor of working on yourself, a bittersweet celebration of finally feeling at peace with oneself after years of trying.

On “Narcissus,” the Brooklyn singer-songwriter’s new single, the probing reflections of her debut album coalesce into a crisp, ’90s-inspired folk-pop song. No’s upcoming second album is titled Vanity, and here she plays around with the famous Greek myth of Narcissus, turning the tale of of the image-obsessed hunter into an all-too relatable parable of twenty-something self-aggrandizement. In the song, No offers a litany of post-breakup lessons learned: “I believed some things were meant to happen,” she sings, looking back on a younger self with newfound clarity. “Now I’m not so sure.”

Unlike her previous work, “Narcissus” points towards a pop sensibility with its chugging chorus and crisp alt-rock sheen — a preview of what’s to come, perhaps, on her forthcoming album. But it’s ultimately her uncanny knack for songwriterly perspective that grounds the song. “But there on the sidewalk I spied a puddle/Being with you was just like falling in,” she sings, glad to be telling the tale, once again, with some well-earned distance.

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