The first reason I like this song is its ’70s throwback vibe. That melodic bassline, the steel pedal guitar wailing in the middle distance, Natalie Mering’s Quaalude-deadpan delivery. Big-time Carpenters vibes. Here for it.
The second reason is that it explores comparatively uncommon emotional terrain for pop music: the vague melancholy of an eroding platonic friendship. I think most adults can relate to the sensation of meeting up with someone you once felt close to and finding the connection threadbare. The lyric You can take me out / of your phone describes, with deadly specificity and concision, a hypermodern social dynamic. Deleting someone from your phone is trivial, technically. But socially, it’s fraught — the final act of deliberately pulling the plug on a relationship, no matter how feeble its life-signs might have been. That shit is real.
The third and final reason I like this song is the wild narrative turn it takes in the third verse, abruptly jumping 20,000 years into the past: In the Chauvet caves / women painting on the wall. I love the grandiosity of this gesture, grasping common human experiences across the centuries. It reminds me of Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life, whose kitchen-sink family drama plays out against a backdrop of the literal creation of the universe and the end of the world. By juxtaposing the intimate and the infinite, we glimpse how they’re part of the same whole. Our individual lives are so vanishingly small, and yet, it’s all we have; it’s everything. Some works of art deliver penetrating observations of human nature. Some grapple with cosmic mystery. Few manage to do both at once. To me, this is one of them.