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First Watch: Annie Hardy, 'High Forever'

It's perhaps the greatest immutable truth: Nothing lasts forever. Despite the most valiant efforts to hold on, all things pass, from the highest highs to the lowest lows.

Singer Annie Hardy has experienced this as acutely as anyone. After releasing her debut album, Hearts and Unicorns, under the name Giant Drag in 2005, she seemed like an unstoppable force, courted by major labels, performing with acts like The Jesus And Mary Chain and playing major festivals. But within a few years Hardy found herself without a label, no followup record and rudderless. She eventually quit the music business and attempted to settle down. But in early 2015, she suffered unimaginable loss when her 17-day old son died of SIDS and, less than a year later, her partner and the father of her child died of a drug overdose.

On the stark "High Forever," the latest song from Hardy's recently announced full-length Rules, she reflects on the false belief that happiness lasts forever. In a new video for the cut, Hardy blankly spins a hula hoop, drained of emotion against a wash of ironic, psychedelic colors. Along with her previous single, "Want," Hardy says she decided to share and hopefully expunge her grief as a message for anyone else who may be suffering.

"I've always been a diary type of songwriter and somewhere in my early 30s I experienced a mass exodus of my friends and even family. As is sometimes the case when we walk through the dark night of the soul, we have to do it all alone. But along with the perceived abandonment I also experienced a complete sense of freedom as I no longer had to worry about pleasing or being approved by these people. I had lost them all and was completely free to be myself and do what I wanted. This stuck with me and allowed me to delve deeper into my soul and put that even more on display. The unimaginable pain of losing my infant son I knew couldn't be just a punishment from a vengeful God. I know that all of our suffering as humans is for a purpose and none of our struggles are in vain, that things happen to us so we can later comfort someone else who is going through something similar, and that I was deemed somehow worthy to endure this tragedy and come out the other side and to let people know that there's always hope, always a light at the end of the tunnel no matter how bad things seem."

Rulesis due out April 7 on Full Psycho/American Primitive Records.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.