We often talk about solitude and community as polar opposites. But in reality, the relationship between them is more complicated; anyone who has ever experienced the loneliness of a decaying relationship or a moment of connection in a crowd of strangers knows this. So does Nandi Rose Plunkett, the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who writes and records as Half Waif. On "Keep It Out," from Half Waif's forthcoming album Lavender, she tackles this relationship — between the self and others — with compelling introspection and striking emotional honesty.
"'Keep It Out' is a song about the evolution of the self in a relationship: the maintenance of autonomy in the midst of a process of coupling, aging and decay," she explains in an email to NPR Music. It's a persistent theme throughout Lavender; Plunkett says the album is rooted in "themes of aging and collapse." "Keep It Out" considers these concepts with a self-protective fatalism. "You want all the promises made / But I don't have the energy to suffice / Watch me while I disengage / It might even feel nice," she sings.
The video for "Keep It Out" illustrates Plunkett's interrogations about love and decay. "[D]irector Celina Carney and I developed the idea of showing two states of being that we experience in relationships: together and alone," Plunkett says. These states are embodied by various characters in the video: boxers with a push-pull intimacy; a solitary character inside a clear box; three dancers acting as a Greek chorus. "Together, these entities explore the ways we attempt to escape from ourselves by hiding inside others," Plunkett says, "and what we hide from others by keeping it for ourselves."
Lavender comes out April 27 via Cascine.