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Metamorphosis is nothing new for Rachel Ries; she shifted from releasing music under her own name to current moniker Her Crooked Heart in 2017. Ries pulls emotion from the spaces surrounding love. and on To Love to Leave to Live, she mines post-divorce territory with cyclical narratives and haunting melodies.
Loving, leaving and living are rarely three distinct actions. This is a clear through-line between the interwoven emotional poles that Ries explores. “Courthouse” concretely deals with her divorce by unspooling instrumental melodies; as an answer to self-imposed questions, Ries declares, “I’m just a lady taking back her name.” On “Loving You,” she puts forth an outline: “Think I’m ready to love someone new, but before I do I want to catalogue the truth of what it was like loving you.” The accompanying similes are reflective and reveal the complexities of an imperfect relationship.