Leith finesses her alt-pop prowess in sophomore single “cowboys don’t have friends”
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  • Post published:07/11/2021
  • Post last modified:07/11/2021

When she released “Love Vibes” in July, her first release under the new moniker, Leith (aka Jessie Munro) combined the kind of bedroom-pop softness necessitated by a move to a new country, being marred by a pandemic and lockdown, with expansive sonic escapism.

Leith’s hazy yet huge sound on “cowboys don’t have friends” remains a form of musical survival, but also liberation. Taking note from the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, she channels a therapeutic sound to pen a message of subtle motivation.

The title is taken from Grey’s Anatomy – known more for inspiring tears than anything else – and Leith balances the emotions in the track beautifully. Her melody lines are pure pop but still saturated with a melancholy that’s only bolstered by swaying synths and a starry chorus.

She simultaneously evokes a kind of desolate introspection and a comforting optimism – perhaps a strong word considering how powerfully lines like “where did I go wrong” are delivered, backed up by expansive, all-encompassing instrumentals, but there’s an undoubted sense of progress embedded in the track.

Leith’s knack for heartbreakingly conveying easygoing melodies shines at the core of “cowboys don’t have friends”. She matches the shimmer of her music to her silky tones with stunning precision, with every part of the texture rising and falling at the right moment. The point at which she sings the song’s title (which could almost sound humorous), feels totally heart-breaking.

It’s fitting, then, that the title comes from an exchange between two of Grey’s Anatomy’s best-loved (and spoiler alert, most-mourned) characters.

“‘cowboys don’t have friends’ is kind of a commentary on the idea that you have to do stuff for yourself,” Leith explains. “I like that it’s not explicitly saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing either. I actually heard it on Grey’s Anatomy; McSteamy says it to Izzie, a bit like “toughen up kid”.”

“cowboys don’t have friends” is out now via Big Trees/AWAL. Find Leith on Instagram.

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