Kai Honasan’s “I Should’ve Left” seems intent on pursuing an emotional imprint that moves beyond the quirky, ukulele-driven confessionals that have always been her trademark. Few minutes into the song, Kai makes us curl up in a ball of agonizing regret, rendering a sentimental folk-pop ballad for anxious, sleepless nights spent trying to get over an ex-lover.
There’s no room for elaborate arrangements that call for attention, no hint of heavy-handed brood for the sake of drama. Even when Kai wants us to feel her pain, she carries in tow the laid-back airy vocals that complement the quiet , rainy-day mood served at the balcony of her window—subdued, minus the unnecessary sappiness. It’s a striptease of what to expect from someone ready to chop off her hair and try something new and vulnerably daring, if not a complete departure from her safety net. We’re definitely sold.