If the ultimate goal of pop music is to reach masses, there's nothing more relatable right now than tears. "Crying is often seen as a sign of weakness, but sometimes we get hurt to heal and come out stronger," says Canadian singer/songwriter Betta Lemme, whose new single, "Cry," is all about "the ability to carry on for another day, regardless of what life throws at you."
Set to the melody of Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)," Lemme transformed the late '90s classic into a track that builds from melancholy into euphoric explosion — much like the "cathartic" nature of crying she sings about. "There's a beauty in allowing yourself to cry and feeling the deepest depths of pain," Lemme says, "and to later still have the optimism and strength to get up and continue your journey."
For Lemme, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" holds special significance as a childhood favorite that she'd play when she was "happy, sad, angry — anything." Now 20 years later, the musician has realized how "poignant and relevant" the lyrics are, cleverly hidden inside a giant Euro-dance tune. "We were all dancing to a song that confronted depression and perpetual sadness," Lemme says, which is why she wanted to pay tribute to it, only with more "hopeful" lyrics: "I'll cry, won't die," she sings.
"I wrote this song about a time when I cried so much I literally felt as though I was going to die and this went on for days — months," Lemme says of the creating her new club anthem. But after the tears, she'll "write about it in a journal, have a therapy session, eat some pasta and make a list of things I'm grateful for."
For the PAPER premiere of Lemme's first release of 2021, which follows last year's "Mommy" and "I'm Bored," she created an exclusive playlist that invites fans to cry along with her. There are 36 total songs, so plenty of time to unleash the waterworks. Below, Lemme explains five key highlights, from SOPHIE to ABBA, ahead of an EP release later this year.
SOPHIE — "It's Okay To Cry"
I remember hearing this song for the first time and feeling this overwhelming wave of reassurance and comfort. At first, it made me emotional and I was touched how beautiful it was. Then came the last 20 seconds of this track; it lifted me high up into what I can only describe as this overwhelming force that seemed to immediately instill this feeling of empowerment within me. The incredible climactic ending made me want to cry, dance and stand taller — prouder. This song sounds like resilience.
Alice DJ — "Better Off Alone"
Have you ever stopped yourself from reaching out and talking to friends because you didn't want to be a bother? Did you think you were better off alone?
Moby — "Porcelain"
I picked this song because sometimes the words in your head are overwhelming and you just want to dance-cry to a melody that gets you.
ABBA — "Chiquitita"
You know that meme where the person is lying on the floor with a puddle formed around them from their own tears? Imagine that, during this song. When I hear this song, I feel like I have best friends in my ears who can see through me, pull out what's bothering me then we can dance and cry it out together. This song heals me — every time, every chapter of my life. ABBA is the best band in the history of the world.