Gatlin’s emotions are a complicated maze. On Wednesday, the indie pop songstress released her single “When You’re Breaking My Heart,” a catchy track that details her tendency to crave some toxicity in a partner. She premieres the “magical” video with Rolling Stone.
“I think I like you better when/When you’re leaving me stranded,” Gatlin sings. “When you’re doing damage/Cause is it really love if it don’t tear you apart?/You’re saying you’re all in/But I think I like you better when you’re breaking my heart.”
The video opens with Gatlin walking into a witchy “fantasy land” maze as she reflects on how she fell in love with “the version of you that I couldn’t have.” As Gatlin runs through a maze in a glittery blue dress, the video flashes back to moments in her relationship.
“I knew it had to be in a hedge maze because the theme of ‘the chase’ is such a prominent part of this song,” she tells Rolling Stone about the visual, which marked her first time self-directing. “I really wanted the maze to feel magical and other-worldly as well as the ‘dead end’ scenes to be very up for interpretation.”
“From my viewpoint, I wanted it to feel like as I was running around the maze, I was stumbling upon these dead ends in the maze where there were these ‘could have been’ moments if fear — disguised as boredom — had not entered the relationship,” Gatlin says. “At the end of the video, I finally chase him down and he has had a change of heart — where he is literally handing me his heart.”
The video ends with Gatlin running through the maze to find her ex holding half of her literal heart in his hands, symbolizing that he’s ready to try things again. Gatlin, instead, runs away. “Because, duh,” she says.
Gatlin is expected to release new music later this year and describes “When You’re Breaking My Heart” as the “older sister” of her breakthrough “What If I Love You.”
“I wrote this song with Liza Owen and Sean Myer about this relationship I was in,” she says. “It’s a ‘love is a game and now I’m bored’ perspective. I wanted to lean more into the pop world for the production on this track, but still have those elements of indie that I love so much. Synths galore baby!”
“When You’re Breaking My Heart” follows the release of “Still Not Me” earlier this year. Last year, Gatlin released singles “2000 Miles” and “Masterclass,” following the success of 2021’s “What If I Love You,” which has garnered nearly 38 million streams on Spotify. She also joined Vérité on tour.