Kiss Me: Ed Sheeran

One dance, one look, one dance, can bring so many repressed, dormant feelings bubbling to the surface. In many country’s prostitutes charge more for kissing than they do for sex? Why? Because sex can be very perfunctory, while kissing serves no real purpose other than to convey very real emotion. Love, lust, passion, tenderness, care, adoration can all be expressed in a kiss, if it’s good enough, if the timing and chemistry are right.

It seems so simple, to open your mouth and let someone inhale your exhaled breath, to breathe them in, taste them, smell them, touch them in a way that doesn’t cause physical climax but satiates an even more vital urge: the desire to feel needed and loved. When’s the last time you’ve been properly kissed?

Surrender: Digital Dagger

Here’s the thing about chemistry: You can fight it, vehemently, but you will always lose.The desire to be with someone can often be like a leaky faucet. Quite nagging, at first, especially if you’re trying to focus on something (or someone) else. But soon, it becomes like a tidal wave, crashing over you again and again, reminding you how numb you felt before this insistent, demanding, exhilarating, and even frightening experience. But giving in…Giving in can be like dancing outside during a thunderstorm: risky, exciting, fortifying. So what if you get a bit wet? It can feel so good to surrender…

Let Go: Frou Frou

“There’s beauty in the breakdown.”

Letting go of the past can be difficult. Letting go of the present, of relevant, poignant, on-going pain, and allowing oneself to be removed from that which causes it, no matter the sacrifice, can be impossible. Humanity’s greatest asset and largest flaw lies in our ability to adapt. Unfortunately, being able to adapt and function in new circumstances always comes with a rough adjustment periods, which in tun leads to complacency with bad situations. Because most of us have ourselves fooled that our situations, no matter how unhappy they make us, are better and far more favourable that starting over would be. Pithy, trite sayings like “It could always be worse” or “Better the evil you know than the evil you don’t know”, help us to justify our own fear of change, which is very often tangentially linked to a fear of happiness.

The truth is, there is always room for growth, for change, and many of us will never reach our full potential or personal success or happiness because we are too afraid, and have become best frenemies with fear and anxiety, making no attempt to let go, start over, and fall in love with life.

Cool Kids: Echosmith

“All the cool kids, they seem to fit in.”

Nearly everyone wants to fit in with their peers as a child. We want more than just to be respected and tolerated, though some still fail to achieve even these basic things (often though no fault of their own). No,we want to be included, liked. We want to belong. What no one ever tells you when you’re a child, though, is that the need to belong, to have a group that knows, accepts and loves you, never goes away. They don’t tell you that peer pressure never goes away, either. It just gets subtler. The popular clique gets replaced with affluent neighbours or the stylish co-workers or the naturally fit people at the gym. There will always be a set of “cool kids”, and if you’re not one of them, their lives can often seem flawlessly easy and glamorous, especially when you’re dealing with difficult matters.

When I first heard “Cool Kids” by Echosmith, my first thought was that this sounded like something I would have written as a teenager (I didn’t realize at the time that the band was, in fact, comprised of teens). Then I felt a bit of self-conscious irritation at the fact that, at almost thirty years old, this song was incredibly relateable to me. I’d been a loner as a child (due to a combination of frequent moving, an unusual voracity for reading, incredibly large glasses and a bit of shyness). This lead to my becoming even more introverted as a teen. I wanted a group of friends, and I collected a couple every few years (some of whom have stood the test of time and that I’m still close to), But I always have and still often do feel like I’m on the “outside”, Never the cool kid, always the loner, living in my head and wondering why that is. “Cool Kids” struck a chord with me because, as often as we hear songs about love, loss, heartache, lust and the quest for riches, rarely is anyone ever so honest as to admit that they want a friend, that they want to belong, and that they envy others who do. The truth is, this feeling, this need for gregarious socializing, might be the most common of all.

Don’t Fear the Reaper: Gus Black

In the 1970s, the Blue Oyster Cult (BOC) achieved super-stardom with the cult (pun intended) hit “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, a song about embracing death which was expertly made less cryptic with an upbeat, incredibly catchy melody. The song became popular with millions of people in generations to come, gracing the soundtracks of various movies and earning spots in several televisions shows and commercials. In 1996, the movie “Scream” hit theatres, filled with the creme de la creme of young Hollywood’s elite (at the time) and a stellar soundtrack. The most refreshing surprise of that soundtrack was Gus Black’s stripped-bare, slowed-down, incredibly erotic cover of “Don’t Fear the Reaper”. Gus Black is, regrettably, still a fairly unknown artist, but his boldness at covering the BOC classic as well as it’s flawless execution are definitely worthy of admiration and respect.

I must have listened to BOC’s original hundreds of time before I listened to Gus Black’s cover, but it was only upon listening to that version that I experienced the fully morbid sensuality of the song’s lyrics. Unlike BOC’s recording, which induces adrenaline-fueled giddiness in a lovely, albeit audibly sophomoric melody, the cover uses the melody and composition alterations to make the listener feel languid pleasure rather than fear at the thought of truly embracing death.