Ever-so mindful of her listener and her own mental state, singer/songwriter Arina Mai’s new song, “Get Closer” impressively challenges the listener on an audio and mental level. Dig deeper, she seems to sing between the lines. Reach for that serenity, she whispers below the music. Sometimes the deepest level of our minds is the hardest to discover, can a song be that guide?

Written as if it were a how to guide, or even a letter to a dear friend, Mai’s “Get Closer” lyrics fall into a solid pop song arrangement. “Never let the rain come down to ruin your mood, rather go smiling through, too feel you, never let the dark pass without rest, rather sleep through the night, feel refreshed know you, get closer, get closer to yourself, get closer, closer to health,” Mai sings. She has little moments where she tucks in certain words; they are a bit inaudible. But for the most part, when she sings the chorus she breathes new life into the song. Mai, who is based in Denmark, sings in English, but her accent is inescapable. This certainly adds more mystery to the song, and even some heavier tonal results.

“Get Closer” is from Mai’s album, Imperfect. She worked with producer, KP Larsen, on the project. The music is derivative of pop music. When I close my eyes and imagine her male counterpart, I kept picturing Lewis Capaldi (“Someone You Loved”). Just as Capaldi sings of ‘numbing the pain’, at times when Mai sings, the body does go numb. It’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, she makes time stand still. She’s layered just above the music that it feels like the two are not quite interwoven, but they share a synergy. Her emblematic tale of mental fortitude and strength gives loads of emotional gifts. The bed of music evolves, mimicking the cold waters of Copenhagen. I could also feel the refreshing, cool water, hitting my face. Relaxing and wading in the ocean’s movement. The song stops you in your tracks, it makes you feel like you’re floating and submerged in the undercurrent and Mai’s beautiful voice. The vagueness of the instrumentation and percussion is what makes this music base successful.

Mai answers a lot of questions and offers ways to heal. Her thoughtfulness is not just an extension of her artistry, it gives the song “Get Closer” all the more reason to really feel the words she’s singing. The opposing themes of conflict and healing are explored, and while it’s not as obvious as you would think on the first listen, discovering upon each new listen, Mai’s song orbits around this imaginary dome. I think she still has that cloud hanging over head every day (don’t we all, to a certain degree). Clearly assessing her own mental health, she’s definitely in the boss’ chair to make statements like she does in “Get Closer”. Nobody’s perfect. Her broken heart, or frail personality is what gives her the perspective that works so well.

Garth Thomas