There may not be a person on earth unfamiliar with the enigmatic Beatles song, ‘Eleanor Rigby’. It’s as much an unanswerable riddle, an interlocking puzzle of character sketches, and an extraordinary exercise in songwriting – an exquisite amalgamation of classically-inspired strings and pop. But above all else, it’s a pained cry of anguish. Timeless, the words The Beatles sang in 1966, “Look at all the lonely people,” are even today with all our modern technology just as powerful and relevant as they were then. It’s no wonder the song is still just as relatable for young artists now as it was back then; especially those who’ve grown up with that particular sense of alienation that overexposure to social media encourages.
Kjersti Long is an artist like that: still only fourteen, the singer-songwriter is right at the coalface, meeting all the fearsome challenges and terrible pressures that members of her generation need to overcome every day. She’s been through a year of lockdowns, school closures and event cancellations, and daily encounters the incessant chase for approval on Instagram, TikTok, and other online social media platforms. Its not hard to understand why such a song as ‘Eleanor Rigby’ resonates so clearly with her.
Kjersti Long’s version of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is a strong showcases for her talent. Speaking about her version of the song, Long said,
“I personally know how hard anxiety and depression can be and I want others to be aware of the struggle people around them might have. I feel we can all, if aware, help lift their burdens and despair. I want to share my music with everyone as my way to help spread joy to others. I want everyone who sees the music video or listens to ‘Eleanor Rigby’ to know that they’re understood, appreciated, and loved.”
Her father shares,
“The only way to dispel darkness is to normalize it. Talk about it. Eliminate the fear. She does this through her music… and through using her platform as an artist to talk about her experiences candidly in ways that others dealing with the same things will understand. She believes this is what she was sent to earth to do. To bring comfort and peace to those dealing with mental illness, anxiety, and depression through music and the spoken word.”
Lulling listeners into a false sense of security with a first verse that’s an intimate whisper, by the chorus Long is roaring over a full band. She has a versatility has seen her noticed by some of the best: she’s already opened for David Bryan of Bon Jovi, and she’s planning more shows for later in the year.
In the beautifully shot, emotionally raw video for ‘Eleanor Rigby’ we see Kjersti Long as she leads her band with the self-assurance of a seasoned rock star. She crashes through the verses and choruses with an absolute conviction and real empathy for all who has suffered from the pain of unwanted solitude. We are also shown some “lonely people”: a girl changing her image so it’s “suitable” for online consumption; an exhausted healthcare worker; an emotionally devastated teenager scribbling in a journal; and an elderly man in an empty room, sitting down to dinner by himself. We feel their very real pain, and we also feel the very palpable sympathy experienced by Kjersti Long.
Listen to ‘Eleanor Rigby’ below and check out Kjersti Long online on her official website.