elijah woods – losing a friend

On "losing a friend," elijah woods is a force of nature

While coasting off the growing success of songs like “24/7, 365” and “last girl” off his most recent project bright orange everglow, Toronto-based singer-songwriter elijah woods is still consistently creating. Just weeks before heading out on a tour of Asia, currently on course to sell out, his stellar new single “losing a friend” is here.

woods previewed the track in a video on social media in late January, showing himself in tears listening to the songs musically concentrated and vocally challenging climax. Soon after, he lumped it together with two other unreleased tracks in a poll to fans, asking which they thought he should release first. It was, to say the least, a head-scratching premise, as even just the climax of “losing a friend” was, from the jump, a unique and momentous facet of woods’ catalog, but he was ultimately just playing the game.

“There was no merit in that,” he said with a laugh, during a short chat about the tune, which details, as the title suggests, a broken friendship. “It’s a good paralysis of choice online where people are like, ‘I don’t know, so I’m just gonna type what I feel!!’ It leads to some great interaction and hopefully, a ton of people vouch for that song, and they did.”

In his experience processing this broken friendship, he ran through a gamut of emotions. “It’s about that indecision… that introspection of, ‘Am I doing something wrong? Am I a terrible person? Am I a terrible friend? Yeah, you f’d up, but I f’d up. This whole situation is weird. Are we petty? Are we boring?’” he proposed. “What I came to is that I can accept what you’ve done, and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you, but I will always choose to see your silver lining. To choose to see that you came at this from a place of you hurting as well… that it wasn’t malicious.”

The second verse is particularly striking, exploring the push-and-pull between parties to just simply attempt to communicate even as time has passed. “I think maybe… we’re just waitin’ for… the other one to reach out and break the silence/ You probably hate me/ There’s no winner in a war/ Everybody bleeds, everybody takes sides then.” woods’ delivery is unmistakably pained… the type of inward hurt impossible to hide.

In the midst of the sadness and confusion comes woods in his most visceral… most impassioned, unable to contain himself from simply screaming the question, “Is this all part of losing a friend?,” repeatedly near the top of his range. The instrumental matches his vigor, organically building to a crescendo designed to blow the roof off an arena. woods, for better or worse based on personal preference, intentionally structured this section to come directly after a chorus, with no breathing room between the melancholy and the explosive.

“I have 30 versions of this song… in one of them there was this little instrumental,” he said, opening up about his creative process and the decisions that went into the final product. “It just didn’t feel as chaotic as I wanted it to. When you’re feeling those things, it’s not short stints about it, thinking about it, and digesting it. It’s happening in real time. It’s in my face. When I’m thinking about it, it’s all I’m thinking about it. It consumes me and changes my emotional space.”

In short, “losing a friend” is a bundle of raw power and complicated feelings, both internal and external. woods doesn’t often push himself close to the edge, but on this occasion, he allowed the full breadth of the moment to bring him there. The results are extraordinary.

Stream “losing a friend”: