Promises, Promises


There’s something about real music that moves people. And by ‘real music’, I don’t mean a certain genre. I mean songs that are written by people who mean what they sing and play what they feel. It’s the lyrics and melodies that have a soul behind it—the ones that reach to the hidden parts in all of us.

I gravitate to musicians who produce this kind of music. The Rocket Summer; Jason Mraz; Mumford & Sons… But lately an old favorite has returned to my stereo, and I’ve been playing them on repeat in my car, on my computer, my iPod and bedroom stereo.

Incubus’ latest album If Not Now, When?  (released in 2011) is a completely different vibe from the nostalgic, harder sounds of their youthfully defiant first records. Deep reaching lyrics and haunting melodies woven into several of their newer tracks have had me reaching for pen, paper and canvas in an effort to express the many emotions they evoke.

One of these is the single “Promises, Promises”. The music video for this album is artistic and stimulating, and the lyrics are well articulated, making it a pleasant and even thought provoking love song.

I’ve interpreted it as a beautifully tragic exchange between a girl who has been walking that hard, calloused ‘road of least resistance’ due to a fear of intimacy, and a man who begs for the opportunity to show her that relationships can be worthwhile.

“‘Now you see me, now you don’t’. Oh, how well you disappear. What are you running from, and may I interfere? Baby, can I be the rabbit in your hat? I’ll swing if you hand me, hand me the bat.”

“I’m on the road of least resistance. I’d rather give up than give in to this. So promise me only one thing, would you? Just don’t ever make me promises. No promises.”

The way this video plays, cast against a white screen that puts the musicians in scenes that looks very real, but in reality is intangible, scentless, senseless, speaks volumes to me. Through it I see an illustration of the sort of relationships the girl in this song takes refuge in. A sort that requires no attachments, but leaves her unable to truly feel the beauty of being intimately connected with someone.

How about you? What do you think of the video?

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4 thoughts on “Promises, Promises

  1. thats great way of looking at that kindof stuff! i think you are hitting on why people dont have loving relationships. they take that easy road and they dont realize they are setting themselves on the hardest road ever further down.

    • I wonder if it’s really the easy road, though, or if it just feels like a safer one. Walls feel safe. No one can touch you or come too close if you stand behind them.

      But then to think of everything you miss when you do… and that pain of knowing you’re alone and expecting to be let down, because you’ve paved a road that’ll never lead to the sort of fulfilling relationship that takes risk to achieve.

      I’m not sure which road I would consider the harder one.

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