Song of the Week: Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap

Sasha Tycko, Print Editor-in-Chief

Like movies and novels, music is characterized by the principles of buildup and release. A good musician plays the role of god, toying with the audience to craft an emotional journey.

Imogen Heap assumes this role with flawless perfection on the track “Hide and Seek.” The beauty of this song is in its simplicity. Heap’s electronically layered voice comprises the entire song, which she recorded and produced on her own.

While most songs in the genre thrive on jittery beats, booming basslines and climactic beat drops, “Hide and Seek” is overwhelmingly calm. Sung a capella, the eerie stillness it creates is all the more powerful. As her synthetic voice undulates, she denies us the beats and bass that would make this song catchy, danceable and forgettable. Rather than crashing down at the climax with heavy bass, she delivers us gently into the chorus (“mmm whatcha say…”). While this leaves us gasping for more, it’s effective. The song is very, very far from being over-produced, as much of the genre is.

The meaning behind the song is not obvious at first, perhaps intentionally so: “Oily marks appear on walls/where pleasure moments hung before the takeover/the sweeping insensitivity of this still life.” Generally, it discusses the emotion of losing someone or something. In an interview with Barcode magazine, Heap referred as inspiration to people’s reactions – insensitive or not – to the events on Sept. 11.

Whatever meaning you draw from the song, the simplicity of it is forceful. It’s the kind of song best for really listening to – it’s no background music. Unplug for a moment and let her ethereal voice wash over you.