The rising indie pop artist tackles the familiar fears and emotional hang-ups of past love on her latest release.
The first time giving a part of yourself to someone else is an experience you can never get back.
That first love is unforgettable – everything is fresh, exciting, new. But what about the second? Or the third? The spot originally left for someone else, marked by the first love, is vacant, open for another occupant, but how does the next tenant go about moving in when traces of the first still remain? Nashville’s Caroline Baker, under the indie-pop pseudonym carobae, ponders the situation on her newest single “Ur Ex From College,” a piano- and guitar-driven ballad centered on coming in second.
The track takes a simpler approach, starting with lone piano melody and outlining the narrative, “two years since you broke up, you were in love for three,” in fairly plain language. But in this straightforward structure lies familiarity, the sense that we’ve seen this before and, subsequently, can relate to it.
Second love is a subject that, though experienced, is often left untouched. When carobae sings of it, she’s exposing insecurities that most of us would rather ignore – the fear of things ending badly, of repeating past mistakes, of not measuring up to their last. It’s uncomfortable to confront them, but there’s relief in knowing we’re not alone. As the track builds, layered vocals supporting the prechorus and a light backbeat kicking in at the start of the second verse, it seems as if the doubts are growing. The more vulnerable carobae gets, however, the more cathartic the track is. When she finally releases her intrusive thoughts to their fullest extent, wondering “what if it didn’t end?” when considering her partner’s past relationship, it feels like someone if finally saying what we’ve always thought but were too scared to vocalize.
It’s hard to pin down emotions that define life as a twenty-something, but on “Ur Ex From College,” carobae does exactly that. Perhaps it’s this feeling of visibility and representation that’s caused the singer-songwriter to resonate with so many. In tackling familiar situations lyrically and pairing them with appealing indie-pop instrumentals, carobae has amassed an impressive following. With the release of her 2020 EP, The Longest Year: Part One, she racked up 32 million streams on Spotify, earning the cover of their Fresh Finds playlist. She’s also earned credits on the other side of the studio, producing for artists like Loren Gray and Midnight Kids. The names and numbers decorating carobae’s resume don’t lie: the future is bright.
Vulnerability is no easy feat, but on “Ur Ex From College,” carobae takes the task in stride. It’s clear she knows how to craft intimate connections with her audience, and with her follow-up EP, The Longest Year: Part 2, set to release in the spring, carobae will certainly be one to watch in the coming months.
Check out “Ur Ex From College” here