Hundred Waters — Firelight
An exercise in inhabiting contradictions
Delicate and gritty, golden and heart-wrenching, intimate and epic: ‘Firelight’ is an exercise in inhabiting contradictions. It sits in that sweet spot right in the center of the chest, swaddling us in a blanket of vocals and pianos. The slow, steady groove leaves us with no choice but to move our bodies in time to the music. Our very ligaments twist and turn when the synth hook comes in with a hard hitting bass after the initial chorus.
All subtly layered and treated vocals dripping in reverb, ‘Firelight’ opens with lead singer Nicole Miglis posing a lonesome, double-edged question: “Sunshine, where’d you go?” Closing my eyes, I can almost see Miglis standing on the edge of a canyon, sending the question into the empty space. She waits less than a heartbeat before answering herself, and when she does, the broken way in which she places the words within the melody feels uncertain, hesitant. She’s both hopeful and hopeless — connecting to a place so many of us know too well.
The ballad continues with full force, as Miglis promises to “walk through your fire”. She continues to break with conventional sentence structure, as though stuttering her promises to whoever has gone missing.
And then. Two choruses in. Just when we thought we knew what was happening. A full beat of silence—long enough to catch the ear of any casual listener. Long enough to remind us all just how powerful silence can be.
When the song comes back it’s just the piano for a moment, until a broken groove echoes the vocal stutter. Miglis sings one more desolate verse before returning to an even fuller chorus.
One more surprise awaits us, just a few seconds later, in the empty space left after the chorus. A distorted voice message — a man is asking someone to call him. ‘Te quiero mucho,’ he says, and then it just explodes, and we explode with it, now fully willing to go along for any ride as long as the members of Hundred Waters are holding the compass. A million Miglis’ are now singing: “You’re gonna come back”. We are the chorus, and it’s an ocean, and we’re giving ourselves up to the water, willingly drowning in vocals and longing.