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Song Review // Jensen McRae – ”Wolves”

Beautifully crafted. Perfectly worded. Iconic. Show-Stopping…

This song made my jaw drop, put a knot in my stomach, all while simultaneously making me fall in love with music all over again. 

The instrumentation is simple and raw which is exactly how the song is supposed to be portrayed. When you think about what it represents, there’s nothing more you should add to the instrumentation because it’s the honest to God truth and we don’t need to cover it up as the wolves in disguise are. The guitar riff is consistent and stagnant yet haunting. This complements Jensen’s incredibly low vocal tone and gives excellent delivery to the message she has about the wolves.

We’re talking about the people who prey on people as wolves do. 

Let’s take a look at the first verse. 

I was 15, still in the valley

Walking in a parking garage

First time I met a wolf in person

At first I thought it was a dog

I tried to dodge him, he was faster

Than I’d ever had to be

He smiled and howled in the same moment

It knocked the wind right out of me

Let’s point out that when she means – ‘‘At first I thought it was a dog’’ – it simply means what it is if you’re looking at it as a wolf from an animal perspective. But in the perspective of a wolf being (in this case) a man, this hints at the ‘‘nice guy’’ persona that these predators put out and victims mistakenly fall for. 

Verse 2: 

I was 19, still fun at parties

He plied me with shot after shot

He assured me he was harmless

Why did I ever trust a fox?

I ignored all of my teachings

How I survived, I can’t believe

I almost let him get his claws in

Still knocks the wind right out of me

This part stopped me in my tracks. Now if it wasn’t obvious, she clearly nods to the wolf as a human cisgender male. 

‘‘I was 19, still fun at parties’’ – at which now, she longer can be ‘‘fun’’

‘‘I ignored all of my teachings’’ – women are raised differently from men to be wary of them 

The way she sings ‘‘I almost let him get his claws in’’ – truly breaks my heart because the vocal performance sounds as if she’s choked up from this traumatizing incident, even as it was noted an ‘‘almost’’ incident

Chorus: 

Now I bury my smile and show no interest

Now I carry myself a little different

Now I avoid the woods

Now I know the wolves

This! Chorus! 

There’s a reason why we don’t smile or ‘show any interest’ because we’re afraid of what might happen to us. Jensen has done an incredible job writing from the perspective as a predator in the wild and working that into the realities of victims of sexual assault. She’s truly created one of my favorite songs and one of the best lyrically written songs (IMO), but take a listen to Wolves, as well as her newly released EP, ”Who Hurt You?” and tell me what you think!

By Sonca Nguyen

Writer and Curator for Crowdsurfer Magazine

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