Photo: Matt Williams

Mo Kenney – “Maybe I Am” (audio) (premiere)

An exciting blend of alternative/pop rock that feels both poetic and punky, "Maybe I Am" is sure to get stuck in your head.

Although Canadian singer/songwriter Mo Kenney has only been around officially for about half a decade, she’s amassed an impressive number of accolades thus far, including multiple award nominations (JUNO, ECMA, and Music Nova Scotia), a first place win in a USA Songwriting Competition, and a 2013 prize from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. As her latest single, “Maybe I Am” (from her upcoming LP, The Details), shows, she deserves every bit of it. An exciting blend of alternative/pop rock that feels both poetic and punky, it’s sure to get stuck in your head.

The Details finds Kenney “trac[ing] her own strange, devastating, and ultimately hopeful trip through the trials and tribulations of booze-fuelled breakdowns, clouds of depression, and disintegrating relationships”. She also notes that it “starts off kind of hopeless and gets progressively more optimistic”. As for “Maybe I Am” in particular, Kenney says:

I wrote this song post-breakup when I was going out a bunch and trying to meet new people. I was drinking a lot, trying to avoid my feelings. I was starting to realize through all this that I had a lot of problems I hadn’t been dealing with properly. It was bittersweet. It was a tough time that ended up giving me a lot of clarity. I was reflecting on all of this when I sat down to write this tune.

“Maybe I Am” begins dreamily, with crashing cymbals and a serene atmosphere giving way to Kenney’s opening admittance — “Call me by my name / When you talk to me, I feel insane.” From there, poppy percussion and shimmering guitar licks compliment her charmingly humble vocals. What’s most interesting about it production-wise is how the music dies off during the chorus; it’s a sparse contrast that makes the additional guitar riffs (and solo) afterward even more impactful. Likewise, the way it ends without warning cleverly symbolizes the thematic frustration behind it all. Either way, it’s an instantly alluring track and a fine taste of what Kenney can do.

Let us know what you think of “Maybe I Am” in the comments below. Also, you can preorder The Details (which comes out on September 29th) here.