How To Love: Babygirl’s EP “Be Still My Heart”

In this piece about Babygirl’s EP “Be Still My Heart” A&E Co-Assistant Editor Xuan Ly explores the album’s themes of love and heartbreak, and asks whether or not love can ever have a limit.


Xuan Ly, A&E Co-Editor

In early April, indie pop duo Kiki Frances and Cameron Breithaupt released their fourth EP, “Be Still My Heart.” The Canadian duo met in college and began releasing music under the name Babygirl in 2016. Yet to release a full-length album, their newest EP builds upon its predecessors in its dreamy sound and style. Still, it is clear that over just a few years, Babygirl has branched beyond their Top 40 pop influences and found their own sound in a magnetic balance between bright instrumentals and Frances’ wistful vocal lead. 

“Be Still My Heart” begins strongly with “Starlight,” a song that introduces the reflections present throughout the rest of the EP. Over Breithaupt’s electric guitar riffs, Frances contemplates the absence of a former lover, while acknowledging the folly in hoping for a different reality. Frances describes feeling stuck without her partner, a feeling exacerbated by the knowledge that they are with someone else: “Midnight / on the roof again / lawn chair and a telescopic lens / I look up / it’s a waste of time / I know you’re in someone else’s sky.” The thought of her partner permeates every facet of her life, pushing Frances to her final confession: “What’s the point of living when I’m missing your starlight,” which is sung over choral string instruments that replace the grounding drum beat. The confession is followed by an abrupt end that breaks the patterns of repetition established throughout the song, indicating a possible dark end to “Starlight”’s narrative. 

Frances’ wish to see her former lover again comes true in the second track, “Always.” The song begins with a dark drum beat before the interspersing of bright guitar plucks, alluding to the bittersweet nature of the two’s meeting. The staccato drum beat is reminiscent of a pounding heart, indicating Frances’ nervousness and lingering feelings for her past love. Descriptions of her heartbreak as seen in “Starlight” are maintained in “Always”: “Casualties of stars that don’t align, don’t align / so, ask me if I want you, I’ll say always, always.” Frances mourns the closeness she once had with her partner, both emotional and physical, knowing that their connection will never entirely be lost. 

The next track and lead single, “Sore Eyes,” marks a change of direction in the EP’s overarching narrative. After sulking in the absence of a past lover, Frances describes the introduction of a new love interest. Her past traumas are still present, as made clear by the emphasis on her “sore” eyes — particularly inflicted by a recent breakup that left her feeling like a “pool drained on the last day of summer.” But, the tone of “Sore Eyes” is bubblier than the previous two tracks, reflecting the universal excitement of new love. In an interview, Babygirl reveals that the guitar lines were recorded at a lower key and slower tempo, then sped up to “add an extra glisten.” Frances and Breithaupt list beabadoobee’s “He Gets Me So High” as one of their influences for the track, categorizing “Sore Eyes” and its influences under “jangle pop,” indicated by earnestly melancholic lyrics over dreamy and chime-like guitar melodies. 

The penultimate track, “Me, You, and My Car,” directs Frances’ obsessive tendencies to her new lover. While there are no traces of Frances’ past lover in this track, the same themes of codependency emerges. As with “Starlight,” in “Me, You, and My Car,” Frances describes a sense of fragility without her partner: “I’d fall apart without me, you, and my car.” The importance of the car adds a layer of movement to the narrative, implying that Frances is finally able to drive away from her past rather than remaining stuck in it. Imagery from “Starlight” is utilized again, but the mindset attached to staring at the sky has transformed from wasteful to peaceful. It is in this song that the EP’s title “Be Still My Heart” is found, indicating a sense of serenity and long-awaited comfort that comes with finding a person to love wholeheartedly and through mundanity. 

The last song on the EP breaks the momentum built across the previous tracks. The ballad is solemn and confessional, expressing a mindset that contextualizes the main themes of dependency and fragility explored throughout the EP. Frances describes herself as “predisposed to hold a rose by the sharpest part / it’s almost like I’m built to fall apart,” showing the roots of her self-deprecating attitude towards relationships. By ending on a somber and self-reflective note, especially after being swept up in the thrill of new love, Frances speaks to the importance of internal reconciliation and healing over mending through romantic relationships. 

“Be Still My Heart” leads listeners through widely relatable experiences of new love weighed down by past heartbreaks and insecurities. Throughout the EP, Frances’ subdued vocals allow Breithaupt’s guitar riffs to shine, standing out as a consistent highlight of each track. But, the duo’s practiced songwriting unveils an integral question and heart of the EP: when does loving become too much?


Image courtesy of Bandcamp