One of 2021’s breakout stars, Arlo Parks has returned with “Softly,” her first song of 2022.

“‘Softly’ is a song about yearning, about how fragile you feel in the dying days of a relationship when you’re still desperately in love,” Arlo Parks said of the track in a statement. “The song is about how it feels to brace yourself before the blow of a break up and reminisce about the days where it all felt luminous.”

“Softly” starts out (you guessed it) softly, as Arlo Parks begs a soon-to-be ex to let her down easy while piano twinkles over a quick-moving beat. Once the chorus rolls around, however, the singer-songwriter reaches a volume we haven’t seen from her before. “Break it to me softly/ I don’t want no one else,” she repeats, banging out low chords. In the accompanying music video, Arlo Parks wanders the city alone — only the city isn’t the city, it’s a movie set that’s falling apart. Watch it below.

Directors Zhang and Knight discussed “Softly”‘s fitting visual in a statement. “For us ‘Softly’ explored the idea of wanting something that was once perfect to end in a gentle way, and we wanted to express this using the world surrounding Arlo,” the pair said. “We were instinctively drawn to the warm toned, hazy nostalgia of the 1960’s, as we loved the idea of something universally romantic being slowly stripped away throughout the film. We based the colors of the bricks, trims and doors on mid-century painting in order to bake this romanticism into everything. The production itself was a huge challenge, as everything was captured in-camera with each piece of the set built on wheels operated by several production crew. However, we knew it was all worth it when we saw the skyscrapers dancing around Arlo for the first time.”


“Softly” follows Arlo Parks’ 2021 debut Collapsed in Sunbeams, one of the best albums of the year. Next month, our former Artist of the Month will embark on a North American tour with Clairo — find tickets via Ticketmaster.