“Waxwing”

“Waxwing” starts off much like any other indie song—feathery vocals over a gentle guitar line heavy with reverb. But Rosie Cima & What She Dreamed’s latest single is far from the soft-spoken ballad you might initially believe it to be. At the post-chorus, it develops into an angry elegy to a dead friend. The funeral is at the heart of the song—the event invitation says to wear bright colors, and the song’s protagonist, perhaps Cima herself, dons yellow, which makes her look like “the shadow of a waxwing slain,” a line that comes from Vladimir Nabokov‘s Pale Fire. Cima also uses the loss of her friend to reflect on a romantic relationship, bringing the two experiences to intersect when she finally reflects that “It wasn’t supposed to work out this way / But maybe I’m wrong / Maybe it was.” Intermittent key and tempo changes make “Waxwing” feel like a million songs in one, and they bring you through your own journey of just as many emotions. “Waxwing” is the third song to be released off of the group’s upcoming album, Realm of the Warring Gods. The indie folk-rock tracks are Cima’s first with her new band, which met through D.C.-area organization Flashband. The four-piece outfit signed to local label This Could Go Boom! in November. Realm of the Warring Gods comes out on Apple Music and Spotify on March 12. Pre-orders are available for $10 on Bandcamp. Proceeds go to the DC Music Gig Guarantee Fund.