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Nardean focuses on the silver lining after love on ‘Whose Fault’


Nardean’s latest project, ‘The Architect’, undeniably sees the versatile Western Sydney talent at her musical best. While sticking close to the artist’s R&B roots, the EP touches on trap, drill and soul, cementing Nardean’s reputation as one of Sydney’s most versatile voices. With tracks featuring the indelible Chelsea Warner and Fedi, as well as production from Maribelle Añes (a.k.a Vetta Borne) and Mookhi, ‘The Architect’ is a lesson in self-worth, empowerment, confidence and love.


In ‘Whose Fault’, Nardean deals with the fallout from a not-quite-love, a situationship that never quite made it to the real deal. Unexpectedly, there’s no bitterness and no hard feelings, just growth and gratitude. Featuring characteristically silky production from the ever-impressive Finbar Stuart, the track is key-heavy and pared back, letting Nardean’s contemplative storytelling take centre-stage. The percussion and bassline are simple but soulful. Finbar does away with bells and whistles and over-the-top production, careful to enhance, not distract from, Nardean’s vulnerability and honesty.


The first verse introduces us to a woman trying to sort her shit out as Nardean sings “I been out here some days doing my best, other days cannot get out of bed”. She’s struggling, but she’s putting in the work, “tryna get by… tryna thrive”. We get the sense that she’s trying —and seemingly failing — to distract herself from something, but we’re not yet sure what’s plaguing her. In the pre-chorus, Nardean finally acknowledges her problem: “I’m trying to find out what I gotta do to get to him”.


The chorus is both catchy and introspective. The introduction of crisp high hats and synth embellishments drive the track forward as Nardean muses “It’s not your fault, it’s not my fault, it’s no one’s fault, that it happened like this”. She doesn’t allocate blame or direct hate at her almost-partner. Nor does she give in to self-criticism or questioning. Sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s okay. Even though she’s mulled things over and arrived at a place of rationality, she’s still longing for this person: “I just wish that we could have that kiss”.

The first verse introduces us to a woman trying to sort her shit out. Nardean sings “I been out here some days doing my best, other days cannot get out of bed”. She’s struggling, but she’s putting in the work, “tryna get by… tryna thrive”. We get the sense that she’s trying—and seemingly failing— to distract herself from something, but we’re not yet sure what’s plaguing her. In the pre-chorus, Nardean finally acknowledges her problem: “I’m trying to find out what I gotta do to get to him”.


The chorus is both catchy and introspective. The introduction of crisp high hats and synth embellishments drive the track forward as Nardean muses “It’s not your fault, it’s not my fault, it’s no one’s fault, that it happened like this”. She doesn’t allocate blame or direct hate at her almost-partner. Nor does she give in to self-criticism or questioning. Sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s okay. Even though she’s mulled things over and arrived at a place of rationality, she’s still longing for this person: “I just wish that we could have that kiss”.

Verse 2 tells a story of acceptance: of self, of others, and of the past. Nardean is matter of fact in her lyrics: “The best that I could, is what I did give, If I did you wrong, it’s just what it is”. She’s free from regret, choosing to leave the past in the past rather than wallow in self-doubt in the present. Her assessment of self is startlingly mature and balanced, “I’m messy in parts but got good intentions”. Nardean has put in the work to understand who she is, forgive her transgressions and focus inward.


Nardean adopts a mood we don’t see often in break-up songs: gratitude. It’s easy to focus on an ex-partner’s shortfalls after a break-up, criticising all the things they didn’t do, the ways they didn’t show their love for you, and so on. But Nardean doesn’t demand perfection. Instead, she sings “you gave what you could and I’m so grateful for your energy”, thanking him “for all the love and the lessons”. The last phrase of the verse is (almost) unexpected: “(I’m) grateful that you didn’t choose me”. The rejection was worth it, pushing Nardean towards a path of understanding and self-worth.


After the second chorus, the percussion falls away. It’s just keys and vocals, almost cracking with emotion. Nardean’s longing is made clear as she repeats “I just wish we could have that kiss”. Even those who seem impossibly levelled-up and self-aware still succumb to the what-ifs.


Photos by @oiradphotos


Words by Portia Brajkovic