Molly Warburton – Not Your Enemy

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It is rare to see a positive break-up song. After all, the term “break-up” has a bitter taste, conjoined with images depicting people who stalk an ex’s Facebook page and wish suffering upon them. I realize there are many bad splits, but I also know some couples can civilly end a relationship. The two realize they’re not right together and decide they would be better off on separate paths, hoping only for the best regarding their past partner’s love life. So why aren’t there more songs about people encouraging their exes, instead of spouting nothing but sheer hatred?

One instance of this musical anomaly can be found in “Not Your Enemy,” a single by Lancashire-based pop singer Molly Warburton. Music first took precedence in Warburton’s life when she was thirteen and listened to The Pogues, a Celtic punk band from London. At fourteen, she wrote her first song and took a music class, widening her tastes to artists such as Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin. She continued writing more songs from there and formed a band with four others. Warburton does vocals and plays guitar, alongside Nick Latham on bass and backing vocals, Luke Wilding on lead guitar, Suds Lakhani on keyboard and backing vocals, and Adam Hargreaves on drums. Their first album, “What the Night May Bring,” debuted in early 2014, channeling several of the band’s influences, including Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel, and KT Tunstall. From there, they have a number of other songs and played at gigs all over the UK, Europe, and the US. Some recent shows Warburton has played at were The Borderline, O2 Academy Islington in London, and the main stage at the Kendal Calling Festival.

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What makes this all truly incredible is that Warburton is only twenty. I have talked before about how I admire artists who accomplish so much at such a young age, and Warburton is simply another example of how talented young people are these days.

“Not Your Enemy” was released in late 2015, described by Warburton as a “more mature style,” influenced by Hozier and London Grammar. From the start, this song is extremely positive, spurred by moving guitar-playing and energizing drumbeats that make any negative emotions fade away. As if the instrumentals weren’t moving enough, Warburton’s voice is silky and powerful, causing listeners’ hearts to overflow with confidence as she sings, “Run, run, run.” It has the potential to make people smile and make every day worth living.

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One noticeable aspect of this song is how vague it is. I mentioned before about how this was a “positive break-up song,” but it never says upfront this is the subject matter. However, it does reveal this intention through its lyrics, leaving it up to the listener to determine the song’s purpose. The song opens with lyrics like “Sail away/Wash away sins/Waves crash down/You want this love again.” The last line is definitely pointing to a break-up, referring to someone’s desire to return to their past relationship. Later, the narrator sings “Drink it up, drink it up/That’s what they tell you.” This is another huge indication because drinking is often a habit people turn to when they break up. They’re tired of the pain caused by this awful event. They want to forget it and believe alcohol will help them. These indications help assure a break-up is a subject matter, but the question of positivity still remains.

Now, because of the chorus, which says “Run, run, run/Until you feel free/Run, run, run/I’m not your enemy,” listeners might believe this song is saying you shouldn’t run away from your problems regarding the break-up, instead talking about them with your ex. Other lines such as the ones discussing alcohol are similar, saying you don’t have to hide your pain or fears. Personally, I disagree, and I believe the narrator is telling someone to run and achieve freedom. She doesn’t feel any resentment, and she wants this person to succeed, to be happy. Towards the end, she asks “Can you feel anything?” This makes it feel like she wants to get back together, but it’s important to note this line is at the end. Before that, she wishes for her ex’s happiness, even if this happiness doesn’t involve her.

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One reason I love this idea is because it feels realistic. People usually assume exes hate one another, but I have seen many people who share this song’s attitude. Some of my friends dated for a long time, but when they broke up, they continued hanging out and cheering each other on. I even have a friend who is dating his ex’s best friend, and all three of them live in the same house together. Good break-ups can happen and I’m glad an artist like Warburton wrote this song revolving them. It makes me want to check out more of her songs, and you should, too. Go to her website, mollywarburton.com, and discover how much better you’ll feel after listening to this song.  

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