“I don’t like how weak I am when I’m with you,” Floating Room’s Maya Stoner sings on “Dog,” the latest single from the Portland, Ore. band’s upcoming album False Baptism, out June 22 via Good Cheer Records. There’s no romance in her words or some fairy tale “weak in the knees” metaphors to be pulled. Her words are remarkably straight-forward and alarming, pushing out syllable by syllable over a swell of ringing guitars.
This isn’t Stoner’s first time opening up about being in an abusive relationship. It’s a topic she openly tread on the band’s first album Sunless, but “Dog” comes through a different foggy lens. She personifies herself as a dog in a relationship where the unbalanced power dynamics haven’t quite revealed themselves. It’s hard to not hear this song and not think of Soccer Mommy’s “Your Dog,” another 2018 song in which a femme songwriter equates her status in a relationship to being a man’s pet. But the base metaphor is extrapolated in different ways, Stoner coping and finding her way out instead of coming straight forward with a declaration. It’s a song about coming to terms and finding out that it doesn’t have to be this way. Stoner’s voice twists and contorts like the mental gymnastics it can take to embrace denial. It’s a powerful, heartbreaking document of being inside a toxic relationship that helps shed light on the powerlessness. Somehow Stoner manages to create a beautiful song out of an ugly situation.
Stoner shares more about the song’s inspiration:
"I wrote “Dog” before Floating Room existed. It’s written from the perspective of a dog and it’s owner, but really it’s about an abusive relationship I was in with a much older man. At the time I wrote it I was empathetic towards both the owner and the dog. Though the dog laments about a lack of freedom, I also felt for it’s owner who keeps a short leash out of a fear of dying alone. I now realize my thoughts on this song were clouded by the abuse I was enduring; in a weird way I considered “Dog” a love song. While I realized my relationship made me feel weak, denial can be one hell of a coping mechanism. It is now clear that this song is a document of physical and emotional abuse. While the song may not seem blatantly empowering, it is powerful in that it speaks openly about intimate partner abuse; our culture is progressing but the experience of abuse survivors continues to go unheard."
Listen to “Dog” below.
On their new single, the Seattle trio combat systemic oppression using the Trojan Horse of an enormously hooky rock song. Catch Tres Leches at Upstream Music Fest this Sunday at 8:30pm!
The Yakima duo finds inspiration from vocalist Jen Borst's childhood memories of her grandmother and the sounds of wolves
Portland-based power-pop songwriter channels his myriad influences on this single for 2017's Exposure & Response