In the time of oversharing and overbranding, mystery markets itself. For singer-songwriter H.E.R.—the irony, of course, is the letters stand for Having Everything Revealed—obscurity is about more than strategy or privacy.
She’s looking to create a space for her listeners to fill in the blanks and take what they need, as the chilly blues of H.E.R. Vol. 1 thaw into sultry warmth on H.E.R. Vol. 2. Speaking to the L.A. Times last year, she said her goal was for “women to really feel how honest and vulnerable I am and to understand that they are not alone and that these are all human emotions.”
While the many shades of love and heartbreak exist here, there’s also agency and self-empowerment. The slow-burning “I Won’t” stares down the notion that love has to be reciprocated simply because it’s being offered—a pressure women bear and find reinforced with “good guy” narratives. She offers no explanations because she doesn’t have to, and the bluntness of her lyrics further drives the point. On “Changes,” she balances vulnerability with assertiveness. When she sings, “Everybody got somebody that they mess with on the low/But I just want you to save me,” it’s as if she’s acknowledging her autonomy while simultaneously letting her lover decide. With songs rarely topping the three-and-a-half-minute mark (on either Vol. 1 or Vol. 2), the music of H.E.R. to date encapsulates a complete spectrum of experiences with remarkable concision.
H.E.R. EP Volume 2 Review