Zoe Boekbinder demonstrates the power of doing your own thing with ‘Wildflower’

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Recommended Tracks: “Mycelium,” “More Like a Home,” “Oh Sophia”
Artists You Might Like:
Grace Potter, Elle King, Carly Pearce

A wildflower is exactly what you expect – a flower that grows out in the wild. It wasn’t placed there by anyone or anything. It wasn’t maintained by anyone or anything. It simply exists in the wilderness, taking care of itself. Wildflowers can hold a lot of meaning, as they can represent resistance, beauty, individuality, or strength. With their new album, Wildflower, Zoe Boekbinder is also representing these ideas through music. By baring their soul in the album’s 13 songs, Zoe is encouraging others to take their own personal experiences and grow from them – without any type of approval or interference from others.

On Wildflower, Zoe opens up about abuse, determined to not let these situations drag them down. Zoe takes both the hot and cold aspects of their ex and places them in the moody “Hold My Hand,” setting dark and shaky vocals against lighthearted strumming and melodies. Trying to meet their needs without getting hurt, Zoe sings, “Am I far too sensitive? / Weighing what I get and give / I’m afraid to make demands / I’m shaking still, I need to stand.” It is a telling track, much like “I Tried to Be Good.” The lyrics speak for themselves, lines like, “On that first morning / With your hands around my neck / Was that some kinda joke?” and “I tried to be good / To do what I thought I should,” detailing the suppression that was felt in the relationship. On “You Won’t Let Me Go,” Zoe calls out the way they were under someone’s control. Even though it sounds like an upbeat and chipper track, the lyrics give way to the pain underneath, much like how someone in a toxic relationship would convey joy on the outside to cover up the deep agony on the inside.

As much as life and relationships can get in our way, death and the loss of relationships can also make an impact. Zoe displays how someone can feel two different forms of grief on “More Like a Home.” A slow and careful track, “More Like a Home” covers the process of mourning. The lines are deliberate and cautious, as Zoe states, “Sorrows entwined / All tangled in my mind / I lost you both at the same time.” The grief turns into wonder on “Mycelium,” where Zoe tries to believe in the idea that life goes on after death. Its forward-moving melodies and pleasant disposition make it a comforting track, assuring us that there could be more to this life than we know. On “Oh Sophia,” Zoe takes this concept one step further by directly addressing someone she once knew who has passed. Throughout the song, Zoe wants to know if Sophia is laughing and happy on the other side, if Sophia is all dressed up and singing… In a way that is not too broken or achy, Zoe sings, “Oh Sophia, how I miss ya / You put yourself to rest, and I pray your pain is gone,” and asks, “Is it peaceful where you landed? / Are you joyful on the other side? / Can I join you when I leave here? / Will I see you when I die?” attempting to find closure.

Amongst these heavy songs, Zoe includes tracks that offer a bit of respite from all the sorrow and pain. They tell us a tragic yet interesting story with “The Rest of His Days.” Throughout this acoustic-based song, Zoe sings about a man who “could pass on his pain as hate.” Later, they reveal, “He saw her sorrow / She saw his pain / They put love where there once was hate,” implying that the world could be a better place if people knew how to love or decided to choose love over hate. On “Garden,” Zoe focuses on self-love, reminding listeners that you have the power to decide how your life turns out, comparing the process of going through life to that of maintaining a garden. Over a folksy and flourishing production, Zoe tells us, “It is a garden / It is something that you do / Not something you find / It is never unkind.” The pleasing visuals of flowers and leaves and bright colors that arise when thinking of a garden also come up on “Where Time Is Free,” with Zoe placing us far into the country, in the middle of nowhere. It is healthy to step away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life every now and then, as all the commotion can put anyone on edge. Zoe makes us want to go with them to this place “where time ain’t money,” a place that is “far from the city lights” and away from “endless cars and concrete.” They stress, “It is a gift, you see / Just the chance to be.”

In the end, Wildflower is all about taking care of yourself and doing your best. No matter who comes into your life, who goes out of your life, and how the world operates, you can determine where to go next. You can take in opinions and advice from others along the way, or you could try to find validation from friends and family, but it is up to you to live life the way you want. These songs shine a light on this concept, as Zoe works through thoughts of abuse, reconciles with death, and looks at the bigger picture. All the while, Zoe is putting their needs first and fostering their own growth. And if that isn’t enough to represent the resilience of a wildflower, Zoe also made this album without the help of any cis gendered men, in an attempt to overthrow the hold that men have on the music industry. From its conception to its execution, Wildflower has demonstrated the power of doing your own thing, and after hearing Zoe out, you will have the nerve to do your own thing as well.

You can listen to Wildflower on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep up with Zoe Boekbinder: Instagram // X // Facebook // YouTube // Website

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