In early March, Brooklyn-based pair Wet released their first song since 2016 debut album Don’t You, titled “There’s A Reason.” The track not only signaled an upcoming sophomore album — still untitled with no set release date — but also that the duo (formerly a trio) is taking a turn from its mellow indie production to more uptempo pop. Today (April 13) Kelly Zutrau and Joe Valle have shared a second single, “Softens.
“[The song] is a little closer to what we’ve done in the past, but still a progressed version of that, I hope,” Zutrau tells Billboard while sipping a beer at Black Barn near Madison Square Park. “It’s a weird song, it’s a loud song. It’s not an obvious single, but everyone agreed it was one of the stronger songs on the album.”
She wrote the song a year ago, when she admits to having a hard time with the album, in addition to personal and family drama (“and on top of it, the world felt like it was falling apart”). She recalls listening to the news on the radio one night and hearing one horrible story after another. “I zoned out and went to kind of a dark place,” she says, “and when I refocused, it was because I heard this line: ‘beauty softens your grief.’”
She explains how the story she had tuned into was about a man named Isaiah Owens who does mortuary makeup at a funeral home in Harlem. “Where beauty softens your grief” is their slogan, and it repeats throughout the chorus of “Softens.”
“I got a lot of comfort hearing [Owens] speak and hearing his story and how comfortable he was with death and loss,” Zutrau admits. “I found it really moving and I just started writing about it. That was the starting point, that was the inspiration.”
She continues, “I think the message is empowering and relevant to what many many people are feeling right now on a bigger level.” For the song’s outro, Valle contributed interlocking piano parts that build with strings to create “the emotional peak of the album,” as Zutrau says. “It feels important for people to hear [this] early on.”
Listen to “Softens” below.