As Rachael Sage alternately hisses, whispers, and croons her way through “Sympathy Seed”, the new single off of upcoming album Myopia, it’s easy to envision the character she has in mind. The song is, she says, “a portrait of a misanthrope”, and Sage truly takes her listener into the cold corners of a barren heart with the storytelling skill and emotional delivery that only someone as talented as Sage can provide.
Truly, Sage is a renaissance woman – professional ballet dancer turned multi-instrumentalist-slash-producer-slash-designer. Out 4 May on the artist’s own MPress Records, Myopia is Sage’s 13th solo album, and with “Sympathy Seed”, it promises to plumb the ugly depths of modern-day mankind with a beautiful artistic sensibility. With the track, she carefully works to understand, as she puts it, “the kind of person who at some core level lacks the empathy required to form substantive relationships or to genuinely respect others… a shooter, a xenophobe, narcissist, misogynist or any number of pathologies steeped in disgust of other people or ‘difference’ in general.” While she is careful not to excuse or tolerate such sentiments on “Sympathy Seed”, Sage more than realizes her goal of “examining the more sinister components of our society head-on”.
Meticulously arranged keys and strings enhance the song’s meaning as they sweep beneath Sage’s commanding voice. No one element is overstated; all work together to convey urgency, and a drama that underscores the seriousness of the overwhelmingly furious character Sage portrays in the song. She grapples with fear, self-loathing, rage, and jealousy of those who are “filled with the sympathy seed,” and the complexities create a multi-dimensional character, one not necessarily lovable, but sincere. “Sympathy Seed” is a song meant to hit home, and Rachael Sage is an artist with enough experience and understanding to drive it there.