Kathryn Gallagher has one of the most unique and compelling voices of modern Broadway, and she shines with her solo music.
Gallagher's new single, Whatever You Can Do, is a song that belongs on playlists with the modern greats of pop music, like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Phoebe Bridgers. When she sings, "I told you not to come/now we're covered in blood", coupled with the vulnerability of the chorus "You do/whatever you/can do to/love me/hate me/erase me/replace me", Gallagher beautifully paints the story of a relationship where one gives their all and gets very little in return, while the other person is still wrapt in the person they are so ambivalent about.
In the second verse, Gallagher sings "lying on my back in my childhood room/did you know I cry every time I hear from you", and I am OBSESSED with the juxtaposition between grown feelings and childish naiveté. It's relatable in such a heartbreaking way. The feeling of being helplessly in love and continuously drawn to someone that does not deserve your love is something that transcends age, gender, and sexuality.
In the last chorus, Gallagher switches the narrative and says "I did/whatever I could do/to love you/save you...", and says that it wasn't enough, that this love and effort was only ever subjected to criticism, humiliation, and projection.
She delivers these beautiful lines in a hushed tone with a hint of rasp, which conveys the emotion exceptionally well. Along with shame and heartbreak, there is an element of pleading to her voice, and it genuinely brought tears to my eyes, further illuminated by the last line of the song "please have mercy on me".
This song actually reminds me, thematically, a lot of Hayley Williams' body of work titled Petals for Armor in that there is a certain fierceness to the vulnerability Gallagher expresses. It is brave to be vulnerable.
And if I could give a piece of advice to anyone who may relate to this song: it is not your responsibility to fix or save someone. You deserve someone who is worthy of your love.
You can stream Kathryn Gallagher's Whatever You Can Do on all streaming platforms.