Softly

Album: yet to be titled (2022)
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Songfacts®:

  • Over Paul Epworth's upbeat, bright production, Arlo Parks sings downbeat lyrics about a relationship on its last legs.

    I must admit I wanted you to save me
    Now I'm sat on the ground, feeling half crazy
    I don't want you to go
    Oh, won't you, break it to me, break it to me, break it to me


    Parks recognizes the romance has run its course, but she needs her lover to break it to her "softly."
  • Parks wrote the tender song with Paul Epworth. "'Softly' is a song about yearning, about how fragile you feel in the dying days of a relationship when you're still desperately in love," she said. "The song is about how it feels to brace yourself before the blow of a breakup and reminisce about the days where it all felt luminous."
  • A French film and a Kanye West song both served as inspiration for "Softly."

    1. Parks had been watching a series of films by the French director Celiene Sciamma. One of them, the 2019 movie Portrait of a Lady on Fire, especially spoke to her. "At the heart of it is this real sense of yearning," she told BBC Radio 1's Clara Amfo. "I wanted this sense of desperation."

    2. Prior to writing the song, the piano and the drums from Kanye West's 2010 hit "Runaway" caught Parks' ear. Coupled with that, the singer had been listening to plenty of disco, funk and '90s indie pop. "I wanted something that had all those elements," she told Clara Amfo. "Moving through it with the kind of poetic element that I've always loved."
  • Paul Epworth previously produced the tracks "Too Good" and "Portra 400" on Parks' Collapsed In Sunbeams album. He has also worked with Adele, Florence + the Machine, and Coldplay.
  • Arlo Parks recorded "Softly" at London studio The Church during the one day she had off between her shows. When Parks went in with Paul Epworth, she hadn't planned on recording a new song (they sometimes just jam or listen to music), but the track came flooding out her. "It was almost like this fugue state," she told Apple Music, "and we finished it that day, in a few hours. I was like, 'OK, wow, art comes out of necessity.'"

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