“You don’t have to be so strong.”
Romy – Romy Madley Croft, if you’re nasty – is back, and she’s coming out “Strong.”
If it’s already felt like, well, a lifetime since the 33-year-old the xx singer and guitarist made her breakout move with “Lifetime,” that’s because it sort of has: “Strong” comes two years after her fantastic dance-pop debut solo single. Luckily, the follow-up was worth the wait.
The song, out on Monday (November 14), sees the singer-songwriter responsible for co-penning smashes likes Dua Lipa‘s “Electricity” once again working with Fred Again.., who’s increasingly becoming one of the biggest names on the electronic scene, thanks to his Actual Life series, including recent highlight “Like I Do” with Kamille. (There was also his other tag-team with Romy released early in the year, “Lights Out.”)
And this time, the duo’s very casually partnered with Stuart Price. Yes, Stuart Thee Price, he of Confessions on a Dance Floor, Aphrodite and Future Nostalgia, among a handful of fab recent collaborations, like “Free Yourself,” the fantastic kick-off track for the new Jessie Ware era. A Stuart co-sign means something significant, and this one’s no exception.
The Eurodance-inspired track instantly conjures warm and fuzzy memories of early ’00s trance and Dance Dance Revolution soundtracks, sandwiched in between acts like Ian Van Dahl, Above & Beyond and Alice Deejay.
“You’ve been so strong for so long / You learned to carry this on your own / Let me be someone you can lean on / I’m right here, I’m right here,” Romy assures on the entrancing banger, which plays like a warm, familiar hug on the dance floor, which…is quite literally the concept of the music video. That comforting feeling is the point: this is a song about loss, and letting go of shouldering the burden of grief alone.
“This is a very personal song,” Romy shared.
“My cousin Luis is in the music video with me. He was on my mind when I was writing this song, we both have the shared experience of our mums passing away when we were young. I think we both kind of try to hold emotions down and put on a brave face about stuff – writing this has helped me connect with these feelings of grief and with him,” she continued.
The touching, simple-yet-effective music video features Romy and her cousin embracing and slowly spinning on the dance floor. And there’s even more of a family connection: it was directed by Romy’s wife, Vic Lentaigne.
The powerful thing about dance music (well, and all music) is how much emotion can be conveyed through the beats. This song isn’t all that lyrically dense – it’s mostly gentle assurances repeated over and over – but the nostalgic pulsations provide all the club-ready catharsis needed without saying a word.