by Sara Gougeon
From talk of the devil and relationship complications to the loss of a loved one, Ana Egge does not shy away from writing raw, personal songs on her new album Between Us, out today.
This latest work from the Brooklyn-based folk musician is an album that has a little bit of everything — a melody to dance to, a lyric to cry to, and plenty of songs to sing along with. The emotional themes are similarly varied, exploring different shades of love and loss and heartache.
Egge started work on the album early in the COVID-19 pandemic, collaborating with Irish singer-songwriter Mick Flannery. The two spent many sessions writing over FaceTime, and co-wrote nine of 11 songs on the album. “It was so fun, and the writing happened so easily,” says Egge. “It was almost eerie. Almost every time we’d meet up, we would write a whole song.”
After coming to the realization that many of her song ideas originate from her dreams, Egge started a dream journal. She also began waking herself up mid-dream to capture the song ideas in her phone. Fittingly, much of Between Us feels dreamlike. There’s an inviting warmth to it, but there’s also something eerie lurking in the songs, a fascinating interplay between the tone of her voice, the harmony she’s using, and her compositional choices.
Between Us features a recurring theme of relationship complications, something that shows up in “You Hurt Me,” “Heartbroken Kind,” “We Let the Devil,” and “Sorry.” “We Let the Devil” is a seductive song — the electric guitars warn, Egge sings the first lines with a breathy voice, and the melody is a siren that draws you in. The album title is embedded in the lyrics, giving insight to the troubles that come between people in relationships. But Egge leaves it open for interpretation. ‘Between us’ could also refer to the distance between Egge and Flannery in their songwriting process, the space between artists and fans, or the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Egge closes the album with “We Lay Roses,” a tearjerker that demands an emotional response. Throughout this cathartic release, Egge doesn’t just tell us what is happening and how to feel; she shows us. The melody breaks walls, the lyrics shine light on darkness, and her voice soothes the sting of loss. Towards the end of the song, Egge repeats the refrain “beautiful, beautiful brown eyes.” There is something haunting in fixating on this specific detail — it might seem simple, but it feels like trying to accept, trying to let go, and trying to remember all at once.
If that wasn’t enough, a chorus of horns also show up to the funeral, with a kind warmth to honor the departed. It’s a fitting farewell for the adventure of Between Us — a soothing conclusion for the album’s emotional highs and lows that simultaneously creates a space to feel, reflect, and discover.
Between Us is available now on all streaming platforms.
Sara Gougeon is a Canadian-grown, Nashville-based singer-songwriter, writer, and organizer of queer events. She’s now developing a new music company to create spaces for queer music, offer songwriting courses, and provide writing services. She founded and hosted Queerfolk Fest in 2021 to support LGBTQ+ music.