Written by Simea Holland
Too heavy a truth to conceal, the words “good enough”, fall off Mytbe’s tongue and drop heavily into ink, spilling their good intentions in two directions. To the left, is a sonic mosaic of introspection and body wrangling, wrapped together by an opalescent guitar line that rolls over itself and a bassy kick drum that’s felt in the gut at every blow. To the right, those two words are tattooed to the inside of her arm, embedding a new understanding onto herself as a daily reminder that she is, in fact, Good Enough.
I sat down with Mytbe at a bar behind Peckham’s Bussey Building to speak about the upcoming release of her EP, its title track Good Enough and the palette of which she drew its inspiration from. Speaking freely, she is certain of her honesty, both in this moment and in wanting it reflected in her work, “This EP is definitely me expressing my sexuality, my womanhood and my relationship with them, which I hadn’t done before.” Wanting an interlude between the experiences that made up her early twenties and who she wants to be beyond them, she find’s agency in authenticity, demanding a truth from herself that hasn’t yet been explored, “I’m learning how to express my sexuality again and that being something that is mine, there should be no shame around that”. We discuss the rewards of tribulations, how they can reshape your perspective, formulating a new vocabulary that can articulate the intricacies of ill experience, and how on the other end of your trials, is clarity.
Born out of lockdown, Mytbe’s latest release Good Enough confesses the challenges that shaped the inner landscape of her early twenties. A subject that typically lives hushed behind closed lips, this song explores the mental, emotional, and physical strain of low body image and disordered eating.Touring the negative space by exposing the complex relationship one can have with themself.
Opening with “prescribe me something good” the song invites us into its tessellation, offering us a guitar line that glints in its own light as it peddles through its simple progression, allowing us to oscillate in its presence for a few moments before we’re asked, “do you see it?” and the bellow of a kick drum comes in only to knock us down. Like a perfect swell, the drum line rolls in just as evenly as it rolls out, comforting us in a false sense of regulation, methodically nudging us through verse until we find ourselves at the edge of the chorus being asked the core question, “am I good enough?” Proposing the overarching question of worth against someone else’s value system, whether that be societal or personal, Mytbe shows her hand, seeking an external answer for something that lives turbulently within, later disclosing that she wishes to “rest up to feel fine” in hope that overnight she can “retrain my mind”, and be something other than what she is.
Aware of her naturally tender tone, her voice contends for our hearts, walking us in a daze towards the end of, “I can’t forget to practise my lines, faking is my favourite pastime”, where composition strikes out against vocals, stinging us with a now pitched up and unsteady guitar line, eliciting the concurrence of something gentle existing in the same space as something brutal.
The desired effect was to create a sonic world that felt how she felt and how the environment in which these experiences met their heights felt; cold, sharp, and reflective of the isolation lockdown brought. At first listen you could interpret the pitch of the guitar as strings being callously played, by bending the guitars’ recognisability, it offered a displacement that was important to Mytbe to be conveyed. “Lockdown was a time of deep introspection” she says, “having only fragments left of my support systems” which resulted in sitting alone in the depths of winter, isolated and boarded up, she speaks of loneliness and how when there’s no one to turn to, that attention turns in on itself, to herself.
Calling honesty to the frontline, she examines the compounding struggles she faced when given limitless space and time to hold a mirror to herself and examine. Layered beneath lyrics, is the warmth of a saxophone, pulling your ear towards its low-lying tune as the second verse veers forward, exploring the desire for external validation with the line, “somebody to impress” and the complications that arise when altering your design to fit the mould of someone else’s ideal, “I’ll change the way I dress and squeeze, I won’t breathe”, later highlighting the solitude when hiding oneself in order to maintain control over themself, “won’t let you in, won’t let it show”, and control over how you’re perceived, “just need to hear you say I’m..”
Sinking back into the chorus, the more attention you give over to this song, the more you discover the multi-threading of each musical element and the way they thrive in conjunction with one another. Cutting through are flutters against the keys that play like a call and response with the high hats whilst we’re advanced on a percussive element. The grainy texture of a shaker sits at a distance playing witness to the sound of hollowed clacks loosely drumming along the song’s edge. Slewed underneath is the smooth brassy saxophone again, sweeping through the low end, dovetailing Mytbe’s vocal swells as she narrates us along the arrangement.
According to Mytbe, “good enough was the quickest song to write”, written in one session, she acknowledges the support of her creative collaborator and friend, Hugo Hardy who helped “pull this song out of me when I was in a low space”, going on to speak of how she had to face herself through her music, “only when writing this song, I realised this was the first time I’ve said any of this to any one, and that was really scary, but it’s real and I owe it to myself to share this and be honest.”
Suddenly ditching the cacophony, the last chorus holds its own hand, revisiting itself in its de-escalation. Stripped down to twangy and aerated plucking against the fretboard, we hear her voice, now at a greater distance to us than before, singing “quit the habit, find a good one, let the world know, I’m having fun” confirming the daily role play of interchanging private and public selves. Her vocals as we exit are pitched down, supplying an altered version of the voice we’ve come familiar with, she sings a rhetoric and all of a sudden it feels like we’re privy to a moment we shouldn’t be, “if I’m not good enough, am I just another”. The song begs for itself to be defined, offering half empty answers, “a liar, a let-down, a nice looking rebound” that’s reflective of idling in a low space and circulating negative thoughts. As the strings tremble one, Mytbe delivers, “I can’t forget to practise my lines, faking is my favourite..” one last time before trailing off. Rather than leaving us with a completed thought, the song ends there, as if she walked out of the room so now we can sit in the space she held for so long.
Braving a rarely vocalised topic, “Good Enough” expresses the intricacies of how one can close in on oneself only to resume normal service for the public eye. Created in the wake of her newfound understanding of self, Mytbe speaks of womanhood, “I feel like I’ve come into this second birth”, defining it as something that exceeds the title of ‘adult’, but more an embodiment of acceptance and compassion and therefore finding an appreciative lens for herself to grow within that framework.
“good enough” offers you a chance to read between the lines and take a closer look at undefined space. It’s a song that should be listened to at full volume as you lay on your bed soaking in the nuances of the musical arrangement, absolving yourself of ever feeling like the only one who’s flawed, and sit inside the percussive, acoustic, bassy and brassy layers; your journey begins and ends with Mytbe’s confession.