Do I Wanna Know? – Arctic Monkeys

I heard this track back in 2013 when it was doing rounds of music charts and has since stuck with me because of it’s unique writing, hook and style.

This is (yet another) song on one-sided love where the narrator, Alex Turner, is wondering if it’s okay to keep wondering about his love getting reciprocated or to really find out- ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. It’s the grey space between certainty and uncertainty that seldom ends up being the most comfortable place to be, cushioned by imagination and aspiration. The writing is confessional and of relatable reactions to being struck by love: of listening to songs on repeat, calling after having a few drinks and knowing well that one is stuck on their lover (busy being yours to fall for somebody knew). The words are powerful and make me feel sorry for this lover who is a slave to his longing and fixated on one person. However, Turner’s voice gives away a certain comfort with this all, he is not too angry or desperate, he’s in deep and knows it but is not really obsessive.

I love how the track starts with just drums, then the guitars step in with a nice deep bass, before Turner’s sleepy-ish vocals bare the internal dialogue. The downtempo is great, gives a graver, introspective edge to the words. The interplay between the backing vocals and his, perfectly captures the doubt & pondering in the pre-chorus. Then all the vocals get together in the chorus adding more weight to the emotion. Amidst all this, the lead guitar keeps getting heavier, symbolizing the simmering disappointment that is perhaps now compounded by all the verbalized thought.

A very interesting composition, this. Makes me think of a boat that’s near the shore but doesn’t want to make it there, just wants to keep floating in the emotional sea wishing the tide stayed low and kinder. If only.

Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine

Florence & the machine is one of my favorite indie rock bands. There’s this grittiness to their sound, the themes are often deep and the music is as much of a highlight as Florence Welch’s super powerful vocals. This lends a unique anthem like quality to their music which I abosultely love and find so very refreshing.  It was hard to pick one song out of their stable and I decided to go with this one.

The contrast between slightly more upbeat chorus with the lighter yet more contemplative tone of the verse makes this stand out for me. Florence’s high energy and powerful high notes speak of attachment to turmoil and carefree abandon at the same time, which makes this very unique. The writing is good too. My favorite line:

“And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t.

So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road”