“Don’t tell me I’m pretty if you’re not in love with me,” is a line that has stuck with me in the days following my first listen to “Puke” by Cory Liner. The Louisville, Kentucky-based artist has reeled in another sonic expression of feeling with her newest single, a gorgeous expression of ache and the feel-bad hit of the Fall.
Liner’s synthesized voice greets the ear first, synths trailing behind as if carrying the extensive train of her dress. But this is no wedding- rather the song feels more like a eulogy (that is, if a eulogy ended with spitting on the grave). Drums that feel heard from across the room, a screaming guitar line that writhes like an injured snake, a simple one-two bass punch that could have resembled a heartbeat now twitters in rhythmic skips- these are the elements that fill the world of “Puke” and so deftly flesh out the shattered portrait of Cory’s lyricism.
“This is a song for people who repeatedly find themselves being gaslit. It is my favorite song I’ve ever done and also the quickest one I’ve ever finished. I vomited it out LOL” – Cory Liner
The song plays with the past and present in a ghostly way- sensations of “the only thing getting me through is seeing you at the end of the week” and “Ooh la la la liar, you do it all again / I don’t got a lot of secrets but I share them all with you / Why won’t you do the same” address their audience in present tense while the energy of the performance resembles the anger and crackling intensity of someone walking away from the house burning behind them.
The real star of the song is Cory’s vocal performance- hushed in replaying the confusion of sharing a bond with a liar, then, on a dime, forcefully taking control of her feelings and holding the one who wronged her accountable. “Puke” is a remarkably raw and powerful piece of music and has become my favorite of Liner’s releases in just the few times I’ve had the pleasure of listening. It’s out now- don’t you dare miss it.
Review by Bobby Guard