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INTRN – Conflicted

The mourning of our past relationships often follows the 7 steps of grief: shock & denial, pain & guilt, anger & bargaining, depression, the upward turn, reconstruction & working through, and finally acceptance & hope. As common and recurring as heartbreak can be, its nails sink deep each and every time, whirling us through these phases relentlessly. Though it’s easy to get lost in our grief, when handled with grace this pain can be strengthening, bringing us to the conclusion, “it was worth it.”

Lo-fi, left-of-center crooner INTRN relinquishes fabrication and filters in debut EP, Conflicted (Oct. 25) building upon his heart wrenching style of confessional pop. The four-track collection chronicles the young artist’s experience post breaking off an extraordinarily close romantic relationship, highlighting various stages of the grieving process with vulnerability and honesty. It this exact willingness to bear his heart unabashedly that has garnered him early notoriety, independently releasing a slew of introspective singles throughout 2018/2019.

Beginning with “Voicemail,” which was warmly received by the YouTube music community, collectively amassing over 1 million views across aggregators. Follow up singles “Not Afraid,” “Different Story,” “Cracks In the Paint,” “Headspace,” and “Lose A Friend” have continued to shape INTRN’s melancholically dreamy sound, drawing in like minded souls and nearly 1 million streams on Spotify alone.

Conflicted marks INTRN’s first release under indie label Dust Collectors. Dealing with the various steps of grieving love lost, Conflicted is more than another project about a broken heart but a journey, recognizing and accepting pain endured and transforming it to epiphanies that will surely guide him for the rest of his days.

Kicking off with intro track “Tomorrow,” INTRN ushers his listeners in gently, with soft fingerpicking on an electric guitar, he sets up his story with opening line “I can’t leave us in the past tense / I tried but you’re pulling me in / Every time you call me you’re asking / If I’m alright and you know it depends.” With that sentiment various transformative layers penetrate the surface— minimalist percussion and ethereal sweeps of sound fall into a chilled R&B groove as INTRN muses further on his struggle to let go.

Subsequent track “Timing” features a musical dialogue with female artist Bolishee. Representing a glimmer of hope, perhaps denial, but never the less a heartfelt interaction during which the pair explore the idea of trying again. The duo’s voice blend with incredible ease, creating a euphonious sonic connection, one that compels empathy and emotion in the listener. These emotions are only deepened in “All I See,” a personal favorite of mine, INTRN bravely bears his heart on his sleeve for all to see. Though feeling engrossed by depression and still yearning for what is now lost, rather than regret he comes to a landmark conclusion “If I could go back / I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Closing out the project with “If You Ask Me,” we see INTRN work through the pain and reconstruct himself in the process. The chorus represents a personal turning point, the remarkable moment when we accept our loss and see hope amidst the darkness. He repeats in the chorus with conviction, “But I think it’s worth it / Even when I’m feeling deserted / I know it’s worth it / To give everything you’re not returning / I know it’s worth it.”

Prepare for elephant tears and be sure to listen to the Conflicted below in all its emotive glory below!

Jessica Thomas