Lambert Sings Secret Innocence

Rachel Jin, Staff Writer

Singer and spoken-word artist Mary Lambert, best known for her feature on Macklemore’s double platinum single “Same Love,” recently dropped another catchy tune: “Secrets,” track #1 on her debut album, Heart On My Sleeve. 

With millennial America divided between the extremes of either watching egotistical Vine stars tell girls to shave their arm hair or being pressured to disregard social image altogether, few media messages are able to find a perfect in-between while still maintaining popularity. Though too recent to be declared a hit, “Secrets” manages to promote a state of self-acceptance without a saccharine overdose of positivity.

Unlike Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” Lambert demonstrates a more grounded view. The lyrics deviate from the traditional “love yourself” aesthetic towards an “I have problems and I don’t care” theme, which resonates with me.

Though a superficially innocent song, devoid of the excessive drug, sex, and partying references in most pop songs, the lyrics of “Secrets explore Lambert’s struggles with her bipolar disorder, dysfunctional family, her battles with obesity, and coming to terms with her sexuality.

Problems, listed by Lambert in the music video with a smile on her face, reveal a darkness overlooked by a casual listener. The tune itself has a simple beat: xylophone melodies, and a happy major key that, by itself, seems like something taken out of the kids’ TV in Gymboree. The childlike sound, juxtaposed with the morbid, depressing content, make for a complex masterpiece that allows optimism to shine through a wrecked life.

I don’t really share the problems with which Lambert struggles; however,  I find it refreshing that she is able to express her herself without begging the listener for sympathy or support. She shows that, even with all the difficult burdens, she holds them up proudly because she is strong and independent.

Even so, I think that the listing of her wearing of “mom jeans” and “cat earrings” and her using analog clocks, things I wouldn’t exactly categorize as real problems, is detrimental to the sentimental value of the song and makes us, who don’t identify with many of her struggles, wonder how seriously she’s taking herself.

The most disappointing part of the song is the bridge; while it’s usually my favorite part of a song, since it adds variety to the overall tone, I was disappointed when, in lieu of actual lyrics, Lambert sang what sounded like a choir solo. Don’t get me wrong, her voice is absolutely beautiful and resonates nicely, but it doesn’t have the punch that usually prepares me for the inevitably tedious refrain.

Sadly, “Secrets” won’t be anywhere on my pump-up list anytime soon; the innocent musings and uncomfortably steady beat is just not something one can turn up. However, it is refreshing to know that there is at least one celebrity out there that expresses a view on personal issues that is both optimistic and rational.

If you ever need a pick-me-up after a bad day and realize that Netflix, chocolate, and Jimmy Fallon just aren’t doing it for you, this song may boost your mood.