This I Tried to Run Away When I Was 6 ‘Not Avoiding You’ article was written by Henry Smith, a GIGsoup contributor
Writing sad songs is difficult task. Often, they can be shallow and overly whiny (see REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ or Green Day’s ’21 Guns’) or flat-out depressing (Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ springs to mind), but the art of expressing genuine sadness and pain without resorting to rage or depression is one not many people have mastered, and it’s captured quite succinctly by Domenica Pileggi and I Tried To Run Away When I Was 6 here. ‘Not Avoiding You’ is her own personal project and although she’s still quite young (in ‘June July May’ she says she’s “only 22”), within this eight-track album there is a maturity and nervous excitement that make this it immensely enjoyable.
Not all of the songs here are inherently sad – indeed, most of them have a quiet satisfaction and optimism about them – but each one contains a subtlety in its keys and cadences that rein in any sense of emotional outburst, leaving us with a raw and genuine sound that gives us a clear insight as to the emotional state of Pileggi. Rivers Cuomo attempted a similar sound in Weezer’s ‘Pinkerton’, and although it wasn’t initially received very well, many critics believed it to be the best of Weezer’s discography, and you get a similar feel from ‘Not Avoiding You’. It takes on a very experimental stance. Most of the songs are very short, averaging around two minutes, but a lot of work has gone into this album, and it shows.
The opening track here, ‘Do You Want Me’, is simple and straightforward. The instrumentals take a subtle back seat and Domenica Pileggi’s voice rings true as she lays bare her vulnerabilities and insecurities, highlighting the things she doesn’t like about herself and asks “will you still want me?” In an age where flaws are swept under the rug and self-images are as important as ever, her honesty is refreshing as it is emotionally satisfying. This feeling continues in ‘June July May’ and ‘Moving’, and throughout the album, as she recounts various stories in her life and the emotions she experienced during each one. Each song feels like a small chapter in her life that we have the chance to experience along with the songwriter, and the minimalist nature of the instrumentals really help to accentuate this. Not all of these stories are happy – ‘Not Avoiding You’ and ‘Good Days/Bad Days’ spring to mind, but Domenica Pileggi shows them to us as if they were, without hesitation or apprehension, but instead with pure openness.
In many ways, ‘Not Avoiding You’ is a coming-of-age album by I Tried To Run Away When I Was 6. It depicts the mind of a young woman striking out on her own for the first time and all of the fears that go along with that, but more importantly, it shows us that she’s ready for the tasks ahead, even if things don’t go well all the time. The listener acts as a conduit for that emotion, feeling every feeling along with her, and it’s a pleasurable journey that we feel privileged to experience.
‘Not Avoiding You’ is out now on Miscreant Records