Paige Wolfe and Katy Hurt – A Joint Review

Both Paige Wolfe and Katy Hurt have made a wish this weekend. On the one hand, their wishes are very different. Yet at the heart of both of their new singles lies the theme of acceptance. In the case of Katy’s ‘Wish I Could Give You Up’, it is acceptance for the journey she has been on as a musician. Having come through the criticism, identity crisis, and doubt, she realises that being an artist is “in my blood”. There is something inherent within her that impels her to keep on singing and songwriting no matter how difficult or painful the creative life can be. It’s why the description “hurts so good” will resonate with those who, like Hurt, continue to make art. It captures the love-hate, high-low, gift-curse nature of embodied creativity.

Paige unpacks a similar kind of dichotomy in the context of a broken relationship. ‘Wish You Love’ is a demonstration of separation without bitterness; for a break-up to not become a fall-out but a friendship. She admits that “I took a shot at your heart/ just to see if you had one” but, in reflecting on long phone conversations, shared moments, and “actions said words without speaking”, she acknowledges that there were good things in their relationship which deserve to be remembered. She doesn’t throw the whole away but instead wants to “forget about it/ not about us”, and therefore “I wish you love”. There is acceptance that it didn’t work out, and we can choose to respond with love when that happens, not hate.

The soulful RnB vibes contribute to this largely positive message, with an infectious hook at the beginning that draws you in and makes the song instantly memorable. ‘Wish I Could Give You Up’ displays the same, though this track is much more guitar heavy, with a significant drumbeat in contrast to the electronic beats of ‘Wish You Love’. Both have a beautiful simplicity about them – Hurt’s in the lyrics and composition, Wolfe’s in the vocal and production. The former definitely has Nashville-level quality while the latter is knocking firmly at the door of contemporary UK female pop hits. This is not just wishful thinking. Both are deserving of mention. Both necessitate repeated listening.

Originally written for and published on Belles & Gals on May 26th 2022.

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