On January 22nd, Anja Kotar published her new single Alone Together. Joe Holmes talked to her and reviewed the single for Rebel.
In Alone Together, Anja Kotar captures the longing and sweetness of collective isolation in the song title alone. She opens the song with an idyllic image of her buying the Sims as she draws us into her cottage in the forest like we’re characters in her Sims-like world. Singing about Milky Ways over piano keys, there’s a sense of melodrama created by focusing on the small moments in our daily lives. Instead of looking at the problems, the politics and the people on the outside, the lyrics look inside, desperate for motivation and comfort that normality brings. The instrumental bubbles like pebbles being carried by a river with a desire to go out and explore, Anja’s shimmering vocals shine through reminding us of the day ahead “think of the places I could be, so I give up and watch TV”. It’s a bizarre game that many are living in right now, with people digging through our houses trying to find something to do. Anja paints those houses into fairytale castles with her weightless delivery, while maintaining how it feels to be locked away in that same castle.
The ballad has such an anthemic quality, with the pop empowerment of “Daisies” by Katy Perry and the sentimentality of “Always Remember Us This Way” by Lady Gaga, making you start to cherish the possibilities that being Alone Together brings. Joined by her mother and brother as a substitute choir, the process behind the song reflects the makeshift art of being at home but thus carries even more power and emotion as it lifts the chorus to another level. There’s a wall of sound in the bridge as Anja looks back on the things she’ll never take for granted again. It’s the perfect song to keep on your playlist when the world returns to whatever form of existence we grow to call normality to remind yourself of an interesting time. An interesting time when we were Alone Together, looking out of our windows envisioning “cities alive with people.”
Between the massive choruses, the verses return to the small moments and the battle between optimism “sit by the window, catching the sun” and pessimism “getting numb, staring at my phone.” When we’re trapped inside with our emotions, it’s easy to switch from one polar opposite emotion to another so it’s important to be self-aware. By sharing her own self-awareness in a song she started back in March 2020 during California’s very first lockdown, Kotar encourages others to take greater accountability. It’s a track she thought would age before ever being released but, almost a year later, the song closes with Anja echoing the demo on piano with a hopeful reminder “I know it will get better, being alone, alone together.”
You can watch me talking to Anja Kotar on my music show “Making Wavs with Joe Holmes” on YouTube.