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The Indiana Daily Student

arts music

COLUMN: A Review of Delaney Bailey’s ‘what we leave behind’

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Delaney Bailey is a Hoosier-born-and-raised singer-songwriter and a recent graduate of IU. Beginning with her first single in 2020 titled “Loving & Losing,” Bailey has continued to develop her stripped-down acoustic style and vulnerable lyricism with each of her releases.  

Bailey’s recent EP is a five-song reflection on her time spent as a Hoosier — as the artist has talked about only living in this state for the entirety of her life. The EP accompanies Bailey’s recent move to Chicago, marking her first living situation out of Indiana.  

"bloomington” marks the start of the album, coaxing listeners in with a bittersweet contemplation of passing time. Bailey captures the delicate moments she’s experienced in Bloomington with descriptive lines like, “You’ll see the same horizon maybe twenty more times / You’ll kiss the lips you love but you won’t keep a timeline.” I find myself envisioning the horizons in Bloomington that she could be referencing.  

I am especially impressed with the production of this track because it adds a whole new level of depth to the song that it would otherwise lack without her stylistic choices. The way that Bailey layers her voice in the backing vocals makes “bloomington” feel like inner dialogue; it feels like a stream of thoughts playing in her head.  

My personal favorite track on the EP is “we were girls together” because it’s the ultimate ode to platonic love. It perfectly captures how it feels to have a girl best friend in your ‘20s. Bailey sings, “Call me when you get home / Please do not walk alone tonight,” which represents one of the purest expressions of concern for someone you love.  

There is obviously an abundance of love songs that exist, but this is a strong and necessary addition to the platonic love song collection.  

“song for my father” is the lyrical powerhouse of the EP, if I had to pick just one track. Bailey writes of a love that is relentless despite failures experienced within the relationship.  

Bailey sings, “I reach for you, but never quite high enough / You reach for me, but you’re tired.” There is a sense of longing, a mutual feeling of love, but there is also a disconnect that prevents the relationship from being enough.  

There is a specific lyrical choice in this track that mesmerizes me. Bailey implements a call and response echo three times throughout the song; it first repeats “you’re tired,” followed by “you tried” and ending with “did you try?”  

I interpreted this as Bailey realizing the truth of this relationship, as her excuses for this person turn into questioning the effort they gave. To me it feels like the clarity that growing up sometimes provides for situations in the past.  

“what we leave behind” is just another powerful addition to Bailey’s discography. Not only is she an indie powerhouse on the rise, but she’s a Hoosier doing big things in the music industry. 

Bailey has just announced her first mini solo tour starting in September, with stops in Brooklyn, Chicago and Los Angeles.  

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