This is an exclusive song premiere, part of WBUR's effort to highlight New England musicians.
About two-thirds of the way through Tory Silver’s “A Little Slower,” a crashy garage rock tune, everything stops. When the guitar comes back in, it’s subdued and alone. Then a cello enters quietly, a low, mournful tone. A chirpy synth, which previously provided the song’s playful motif, suddenly sounds yearning. “Can we try a little slower, now?” Silver sings. The song ends before she can get an answer.
Sometimes, life comes at you fast. For Silver, it was in the form of — what else — a pandemic breakup. That, coupled with the apocalyptic tenor of the news, overwhelmed her. The Boston-based singer-songwriter wrote “A Little Slower” in response to that feeling. “It just felt like everything was moving in such a fast, harsh way,” she says. “Sometimes you just want to take in information, like, let it breathe a little bit. But it felt like that couldn’t be the case.”
The first half of the song seems more clearly about the dissolution of a relationship. “Can it be much harder, now?,” Silver sings. “Should we try much harder, now?” But Silver says those lines have a dual meaning. Yes, they describe the fading hope of a fading relationship. But they were also inspired by the country’s polarized political atmosphere. Silver says she found herself wishing that people on the political right would “open up a little bit more, and be more understanding.” And, likewise, that people on the left — herself included — would slow their voracious news intake, pause before reacting to every headline. “As a society…how can we try harder?” Silver says. “And what’s worth trying to do better, and what’s not?”
“A Little Slower” is the final track off of Silver’s upcoming album, "Slowly," out Jan. 28. She sees “A Little Slower” as a summation of the entire project, most of which she wrote over the course of the pandemic. (The album was arranged and recorded with her band: Marcel Damiano on bass and guitar, Ray Cohen on drums, Kevin O'Connell on keys, Carly Kraft on backing vocals, Jeff Tang on cello and Leticia Filizzola on guitar.) The album documents a painful time in Silver's life. The final moments of “A Little Slower” represent “letting all that go,” she says. The song ends on a question, but it is comfortable in its lack of resolution. For Silver, that’s growth.
Note: The audio for WBUR's music premieres comes down after the track is released. You could still listen to the track via the streaming service embed above.