Tugging at heartstrings and finding hope in Ashley Kutcher’s ‘House On The Water’

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Ashley Kutcher - "House On The Water"

Recommended Tracks: “Die In Your Arms”, “Girl In The Mirror”, “Half Gone”
Artists You May Like: Haley Joelle, Kenzie Cait, Sadie Jean

From a young age, we dream about what our futures may hold, with expectations for relationships and connection. Pulling at youthful heartstrings becomes second nature when emotions take shape — grief, reminiscence, pain and hope — with dreams of the person we will fall asleep next to when we are older. Growing up in a house on the water is no different from growing up in a location filled with city lights and skylines. Baltimore-based pop singer-songwriter Ashley Kutcher formed those connections and ached to end up with the love of her life in her debut album, House On The Water, released on Jan. 26.

Known for writing real, raw and relatable heartbreaking songs that pull at your heartstrings like no other, Kutcher released her debut EP, One Eighty, more than two years ago, and she continues to share her heart, proving that music is not just an art form for her. 

House On The Water, infused with pop-country elements, offers a glimpse into Kutcher’s journey as a young woman searching for her happily ever after in our ever-changing world. The album unfolds with “Boy From California,” where the acoustic guitar becomes a soulful friend to her words, “I think I know him the best after midnight.” The song delves into a relationship established in the later hours of the night, and it’s expressed with deep uncertainty and complex feelings. As the first track, it sets the stage, becoming a cornerstone for the remainder of the album. Kutcher comes to terms with this shifting romance, allowing listeners a peek into her painful yet beautiful encounter with love.

In the ballad “Girl In The Mirror,” Kutcher captures her innermost struggles that arise from insecurities within her relationship. Featuring some country twang, she metaphorically talks to herself, which reveals the duality of her thoughts, “My keys on the counter, onе foot out the door, I tell her еvery time, I can’t take it anymore / Oh, I swear I’d leave her / But she’s the girl in the mirror, mirror.”

Kutcher lays bare her internal struggle with trust, in this fight to preserve her authentic self in “Trustfall.” In this heartbreaking track, she sings about the moment she let go without caution, slipping through his grasp. With a trustfall, she expresses, “I landed at the bottom.” She reached her bottom in “Alone With Somebody Else,” which serves as a haunting sequel to those themes. Kutcher recounts a story filled with heartbreak and betrayal, where her partner initially asks for space, and eventually wants to be alone. This breach of trust is felt completely as she sings, “Now I’m alone, all by myself / While you’re alone with somebody else.” With each note, Kutcher beautifully illustrates the pain of slipping through the grasp of someone she believed in, exploring how fragile trust is in relationships.

Moving on is no easy feat, especially for those who seem to be etched in our memories. These people become ingrained in our brains and letting them go seems inexplicable. Kutcher mourns this devastating loss in “Half Gone,” a guitar-driven ballad. The lyrics express both the emotional and tangible aspects of detachment. She finds herself trapped in a state of limbo she cannot seem to escape, “I’m half here, I’m half gone / I’m half in the bar getting half drunk / I’m half in your car riding shotgun / I hate that I’m half near, I’m half far / I’m half with my friends in the big stall / I’m half on my phone hoping you’d call.” Painfully, she concludes the track with, “Rope burn on my hands from holding on,” a metaphor for having to force herself to move on, even if only for a moment. The haunting melody and evocative lyrics of “Half Gone” employ such deep-rooted metaphors that demonstrate her ability to break our hearts over and over again.

That is before she discovers that perhaps there is hope for healing and redemption in love in the soul-searching anthem, “Die In Your Arms.” We often wonder whether taking risks in relationships is even worth the agony, and for Kutcher, it didn’t work out and she ended up broken and at the bottom, acknowledging the pitfalls of love. In a plea to her partner, Kutcher asks them to hold on a little bit longer, “We can build a home for two, just you, me and a view / So hold on a little bit longer, meet me in a house on the water / Meet me in a house on the water.” Kutcher paints a picture of love as a possible redemption to fix what broke.

In the concluding eponymous track, Kutcher expresses her commitment and patience, establishing an understanding that the life she envisioned in her Baltimore house on the water can in fact come true. Through vivid imagery, the singer believes in the possibility of a life with the person she loves. Kutcher’s heartfelt vocals and poignant lyricism make waves in the bedroom pop genre, establishing her as a distinctive singer-songwriter. Each song gently tugs at heartstrings in a painfully beautiful way, infused with country flair. House On The Water emerges as an album woven with pain, brokenness and confusion. Kutcher finds some hope for a shared future with the person she loves in a house on the water, leaving a lasting impression on the hearts of those on the ride with her.

You can listen to House On The Water on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.

Keep up with Ashley Kutcher: Instagram // Spotify // TikTok // YouTube // Website

Clare Gehlich
Clare Gehlich
Clare is a recent Stony Brook University graduate, holding a BA in Journalism. She was a journalism intern at Melodic for the spring 2024 semester and currently serves as the album coordinator and is a freelance writer for the magazine.

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