Photo: Steph Verschuren

renforshort – hurt like it should

Ahead of new EP 'clean hands dirty water,' renforshort is a silent killer on "hurt like it should"

There’s something to be said about a voice that could be seen as fragile, thin, and delicate but is, at the same time, resoundingly tough. Even a little rugged. That is the voice of renforshort, the 21-year-old Toronto, ON, native who has been building her brand as an indie pop songwriter with an edge since her earliest releases in 2019. With a tone similar to more than a few others in the pop space, she has used her gravitational pull to hold her own with industry vets like The Maine and Travis Barker, establish undeniable chemistry with Glaive, and go it alone in plenty of solo material.

Paired with the February release “serpentine,” indie mainstay renforshort has released her latest single, “hurts like it should.” The two songs will be included on her upcoming EP, clean hands dirty water, out May 17th.

On “hurt like it should,” ren runs through her history with an individual, starting by acknowledging her naivety in her younger years: “15… driving in circles with you/ it seems like the only and right thing to do/ Crazy, but I like the comfort and safety.” Later, she comes to terms with what she was lacking and was allowing herself to ignore: “19… I don’t really mind being lonely/ Don’t need you or anyone else to come save me.”

Without the vocal pyrotechnics, she tries her hand at her own version of Demi Lovato’s “29,” taking her power back… looking at that person, and asking, unflinchingly, if it was worth it. If they feel anything now: “When you do catch your breath/ Pull the knife out of your chest/ Does it hurt like it should have?/ Hurt like it should.” Unlike Lovato, who can, and will, rip an answer out of the subject with their signature viciousness, ren is simply more of a silent killer. While the mess of fuzzy guitars and steady drums may reflect her internal thoughts, her front-facing demeanor is unwavering. She is emotionally detached, and now unwilling to fall prey to their tricks.

In a short black and white video teaser for the song on IG, ren is asked, “How do you define your evolution as an artist?” She answers poignantly, tying in the idea of both establishing and owning up to one’s self-worth displayed in the song, as well as owning up to her own creative vision: “I guess it coincides with my evolution as person,” she said. “I’ve worked a lot on being more assertive and being able to be confident in my art. Making sure everything is right and SAYING if it doesn’t feel right… sound right… or look right.”

Stream “hurt like it should”: