We could all fall for “As We Grow,” the latest single by Sleeplore, which delves into heavy themes of loss and trauma, underlined by hope. “We could all fall” are the final, haunting words that punctuate the acoustic track. They leave you with the ache of loss, along with the sense that you’re not alone in it. It’s a reminder that, at any moment, we could find ourselves in situations and states of being that are far from ideal. For Clyde Rosencrance, the man behind the music, that moment came at the end of December 2021.
This single was inspired by the sudden loss of Rosencrance’s family dog, Jake, who died in Clyde’s arms the night before Christmas Eve. Jake can be seen in the artwork, sleeping “…by the pond, down the road.” The artwork was created by his good friend Nathan Tersteeg, who also made the artwork for Sleeplore’s self-titled EP, which dropped December 15th.
According to Rosencrance, the pond down the road is not a real place. Rather, he described it as, “a place in my head that I had a visual of when I was writing the song. I was trying to imagine a place where a young boy might go to get away from the world and just be able to escape or feel safe.”
Though he does not usually start with a vision in mind while writing songs, he said, “This one was a bit different. The original concept was about a young boy who was growing up in a traumatic environment. It was from the viewpoint of someone like an older brother who would come back and offer to take him away from the bad things that were happening, even if only for a temporary reprieve.”
LISTEN: Sleeplore’s “As We Grow”
Rosencrance managed to compose a perfect instrumental arrangement that finds the balance between simplicity and expanse. The storytelling walks the line between a specific moment in time and relatable ambiguity. In short, by the end of the song, anyone who has experienced the loss of a friend, family member, or pet will feel utterly understood, even dressed-down, by Sleeplore. And they will know they are not alone in their grief or trauma.
The song begins with radio static. It’s quickly accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar, strumming a series of scintillating, if simple, chords that lay the groundwork for the impending emotional buildup. Breathy vocals paint the scene of an awkward sense of lacking in the first verse. A flute then takes you by the hand and walks you into the chorus.
Sleeplore’s empathetically gentle vocals sing a hook that is contemplatively lethargic and melancholically gripping. It opens up with occasional harmonies that cause the heart to swell and lip to quiver. By the bridge, the guitar’s shimmering chords pull back and make room for a spacious-yet-poignant piano. Hope is the interwoven, occasional theme throughout the song. It comes through most clearly with the piano’s foreshadowing notes, which climb, rather than fall, at the end of each phrase. Then come the stunning harmonized vocals, singing:
“When you’re alone tonight, remember – you’re the light.”
The final moments of the song have the vastest orchestration with both instruments and vocals all swelling to a climax. Though, it seems ultimately pessimistic to end a song that had been holding onto such a deep sense of hope with a line like “and we could all fall,” right?
I don’t think so…
It is an undoubtedly sobering reminder that we could all fall into circumstances that strip us of our ability to see the positive in life. Rosencrance says, “Our lives can change so fast and as hard as we may try, sometimes outside forces end up disrupting the balance and put us into a place that can be dark or unhappy.”
However, though we could all fall, I think in a song with so many reminders of the good moments, the silver linings, and the love that surrounds us, we do not have to fall—at least not alone. When we go through those moments, we need to try hard to remember the “older brother,” the pond down the road, and the memories of the good times had in the past. Though this song was written in a place of loss and grief, it is underlined with the memory of Jake, who provided so many moments of love, laughter, and joy to his family. Maybe it’s this memory that walks with us as “we go way down by the pond down the road.”
Rest in peace, Jake.
As a project junkie, Skippy is seldom sitting idle. Between writing poetry, books, calligraphy, and songs for his solo music (as Skippy) and his band Fire by Night, he’s always got a pen to the page. Oh, I guess he can add music reviews and interviews to his repertoire, too.