What hurts more: breaking up with someone or still being in love with them long after the romance is over? The question lies in the heart of “Play God,” the enchanting new song from singer Catie Turner. With a dreamy production capturing the cloudy haze one feels when struggling with the affairs of the heart, Catie captures the turmoil of someone who knows it’s time to let go but can’t just yet. “I keep holding on to something expired / said ‘I love you forever’ and I’m not a liar,” she sings before heading into the chorus. “But I can’t play God / with you, and I / I tried to make you stay a thousand times / so I tried to find you in different guys / but they ain’t you.”
The specificity of the lyrics, with their sobering honestly, are based on a personal experience of Catie’s. “I got in the room with Rollo (Spreckley) and told him the story of how I missed this guy and couldn’t do anything about it,” she shared with HollywoodLife. “I literally just started out, and I’m like… damn… New Jersey Transit is even sadder now. And it grew from there.” So, when she sings about “waiting for the train at Penn Station / hoping that I might fall into you,” she’s telling the truth.
Catie’s songwriting has earned her flowers and accolades since being called a “genius” on the 2018 season of American Idol. Perhaps it’s how the Langhorne, Pennsylvania, native first came to music – as a way to cope with social pressures and anxiety — that helped shaped such earnest lyricism? “It happened pretty late. [I was like], ‘ I can’t play sports, I can’t act, I can’t draw — I need a talent,” she said in a 2018 interview. “What is something I haven’t tried? Music! Wait — I’m actually kind of good at music — I think I’ll work with this.”
Music has definitely worked. In 2019, Catie independently released her debut ep, The Sad Vegan, which features the breakout single, “Prom Queen.” The song, which boasts over 15 million Spotify streams, helped earned Catie a spot on Idolator’s “40 Artists To Watch In 2020.” Though that year was muted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Catie still managed to shine. She teamed with Atlantic Records and released the personal “One Day.” With 2021, Catie looks to resume her ascent to music superstardom, promising more music by the year’s end. That should give fans a reason to shout “hallelujah.”
“Play God” is out now.