There’s no right or wrong when it comes to heartbreak, there’s only moving on. And while Landon Conrath hasn’t reached that point yet on his newest single, he’s at least starting the journey earnestly. On “Broken,” the Minneapolis artist wears his emotions on his sleeve, literally: “You don’t know that you hurt me / Tears falling softly down the arm of my coat,” he musters in the track’s opening verse. His pain is amplified in its singular, one-way distribution, the victim of a targeted offense. As the track plunges on, Conrath becomes delirious in his devastation. His imagination runs amuck, entertaining the idea of fleeing the country and fictionalizing his death, all in an attempt to gain back the attention of the one he lost; he bought a car and drove it off a bridge, just to make a point about his indifference; in trying to fly, he bruised a rib. His spiraling mentality is only tempered by the track’s minimalist production, an intentional choice that reflects Conrath’s self-destruction. “I feel like this song might be the beginning of my flop era,” he says of “Broken,” with his tongue firmly in his cheek. “A singular guitar carries the song's mood, bringing me back to my comment about my self-inflicted flop era. There are no drums in this song! Fast-paced drums have been the only thing any music blog has ever mentioned after listening to one of my songs, and they're non-existent. So if this is truly the beginning of the end of my career, at least you heard it from me.” Embracing the potential for a failure-to-launch enabled Conrath to make the most self-reflective music of his accomplished career.
The brand of heartbreak Conrath explores in “Broken” is often inferred by listeners to be a romantic break-up. In this case, the subject is a friend of Conrath, who “hurt my feelings without even trying at a coffee shop. I felt so stupid about being hurt that I just wanted to leave everything I've ever known and run away in that moment just to prove a point, and maybe even hurt their feelings in return. I just felt completely broken and alone.” That pain is legible in the lyrics for the track, which carry an emotional sting to them through simply reading them on their own. With the production taking a back-seat, space became available for Conrath to put his pen to work, deviating from his previous pop-centric music of his past. While it is to be seen if this detour will become the sustained direction Conrath will follow, “Broken” assures that Conrath is entering anything but his so-feared “flop era.”