Photo: Rachele Liba at Offtrail Studios
Washington, D.C.-based Americana/indie-rock artist Horseshoes, aka Austin Greaves, recently released his latest single, “Say What You Mean,” a song about authenticity.
Horseshoes explains, “’Say What You Mean’ is about the obstacles we all face when trying to connect with others and understand who they truly are.”
In 2022, Horseshoes dropped his debut album, Desert, followed by his single, “Come With Me,” a few months later. At the beginning of July 2023, he released “Hide and Seek,” a vibrant, indie-rock song brimming with luminous colors.
“Say What You Mean” rolls out on a mid-tempo rhythm made up of a rolling bassline and tight, crisp percussion, giving the tune an alluring, undulating motion. Softly gleaming layers of instrumentation infuse the song with shimmering harmonics as Horseshoes’ evocative vocals, at once passionate and insistent, imbue the lyrics with a yearning for truthfulness.
“Got a long, long way to go / Before you tell me what I need to know … Take what you need / If you need anything at all / I want to believe / There’s something behind that wall … But I can’t see / There’s nothing there at all.”
As Horseshoes narrates the tale, his frustration with the other person oozes out – they are failing to disclose who they are and what they desire, leaving Horseshoes in a position of vulnerability. He wonders if the person lacks a defined sense of self, making it difficult for them to know exactly what they want.
In the end, the lyrics reveal the source of the narrator’s exasperation – he has trouble understanding others because of his own narcissism.
“But I never see anybody else / Cause I’m always thinking about myself.”
In the outro, the repetition of the lyrics “There’s nothing there at all” bares the narrator’s own discontent and absence of self-identity.
A visceral, affecting track, “Say What You Mean” conveys the elite songwriting gift, musicality, and expressive vocals of Horseshoes.