Elisabeth

Elisabeth Sanders is from California and owns four different pairs of gold shoes.

Nick Jonas Made A Surprisingly Good Album That Is Also Lowkey About What A Terrible Boyfriend He Would Be But That’s Okay Because I Never Have To Date Him: A Track-By-Track Commentary on “Nick Jonas”

Chains
I heard this on the radio and I was like, THIS IS A JAM WHO IS THIS and then the radio man told me it was Nick Jonas and, well, here we are, friends. U GOT ME IN CHAAAAIIIINNNS U GOT ME IN CHAIIIINNSSS FOR UR LOOOOVE – me @ this song. Nick Jonas performed this at the iHeartRadio Awards while wearing literal chains; his backup dancers were in SEXY JAIL outfits; everything about this is just, like, really beautiful and I’m just glad I’m alive, you know? TRYING 2 BREAK THE CHAINS BUT THE CHAINS ONLY BREAK MEEEE I shriek along with Nick Jonas while driving in my car which I own because I am an adult in the year two thousand and fifteen. What a world.

Jealous
I mean I could go on about how this song is hashtag problematic and weird and upsets me, because like, oh my god Nick Jonas don’t blame your girlfriend for other peoples’ actions toward her, you’re not being cute, but mostly I would just like to say that I think also this song just, like, sucks. Seriously ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my gooooooooooooooooooodddddddddd i haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttte this soooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. Sorry I just needed to get that off my chest. (There’s a remix of this song with Tinashe on it, tho, and there’s a bit where she says “Nick J…. TinaSHE….” so I’d recommend it just on the strength of that, and also because it changes one lyric to be “everybody wants your sex,” which is hilarious and weird.)

Teacher
If Nick Jonas doesn’t ever perform this with a cadre of backup dancers dressed as cartoonish sexy teachers I will be both relieved and disappointed. Anyway the best part of this song is the fact that the prechorus is just OH MY OH MY OH MY OH MY GODDDDD OH MY OH MY OH MY OH MY GODDDD, which I identify with because it is also how I express attraction. Lotsa nice falsetto from our boy Nick, and also lovely use of the word “mama” and also “ya body, gurl” and also an attempted sultry spoken bit. Luv it. Timberlake the hell outta me.

Warning
The lyrics of this song (I’m running for the fences on my own / and I can see the warning /…/ I’m breaking the warning down) can only lead me to conclude that it’s about Nick Jonas frantically and emotionally trying to climb an electric fence. This is my favorite song about Nick Jonas trying to climb an electric fence. I am glad he survived but I would not like, endorse that as a way to deal with stress.

Wilderness
Oh my GOD i am OBSESSED with this song, partly because it’s a goddamn bop, and partly because it’s about how fucking Nick Jonas in the woods is similar to childbirth. “Naked as the day we were born” is kind of weird imagery to use when you’re talking about sex, but I think it works here because this song is about REBIRTH and REDISCOVERING THAT WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY HUMAN WITHIN YOUR SOUL, which you do apparently by going sex camping with your on again/off again flame Nick Jonas. This is, despite the lyric “before the fire / we discovered desire” surprisingly and disappointingly, not going to be used as the credits song for a remake of the seminal classic “Quest for Fire,” which is a great film about cro-magnons learning how to love.

Numb ft. Angel Haze
K first of all, ANGEL HAZE IS ON THIS ALBUM, OMG I KNOW, Y’ALL. Second of all this is a really incredible song with an incredible beat that walks the line between jammin out and melancholy really well. The way the word numb vibrates above the chorus, that bit in Angel Haze’s verse when Nick Jonas contributes just a few sung words–everything about how this is constructed is so GOOD.

Take Over
This song makes me lowkey uncomfortable because I’m not really in a place where I want to listen to Nick Jonas say the word “naughty” or “dirty,” no matter how many biceps he grows. Anyway whatever, this is not not a song about how Nick Jonas wants you to sext him, which is appropriate because current-day Nick Jonas looks like a catfishing Tinder profile. My own aversions aside this is a good song I guess and, like, you can’t say it’s not on-brand.

Push
One of the important and inevitable obligatory slow #feelings songs, Push is a high-pitched dirge about how Nick Jonas wants you to murder him. Also in my fave bit he implies that he is some kind of tragic fallen bloody angel and you should cut his wings off because of romance, which is very 2006 of him but whatever. (Omg side note did any of y’all read that manga Courtney Love co-wrote like seven years ago? Do you guys think Nick Jonas wrote this song about Courtney Love’s manga about a fallen angel who becomes a pop star and also is Courtney Love but with blood-red wings and also there is some kind of interdimensional goth angel war going on yes/no)

I Want You
Yeah ok I hate this song a LOT, this song is incredibly creepy, this song is literally about a dude threatening to break into his ex’s apartment because she broke up with him and he won’t let go. This song is from the perspective of the guy you’re scared to leave, and it’s fucked up. Zero stars, would NOT recommend, yikes???!!!!!!!!!

Avalanche ft. Demi Lovato
If i hadn’t been way too self-consciously cool as a Teen I would probably have a lot of feelings about this duet ballad with Demi. (Important confessional note: I did at one point in high school watch an illegal stream of Disney’s Camp Rock and then never mention it to anyone.) I am a fan of emotional songs that are metaphors about large natural disasters, though, so I’m like, not not into it. Probably would watch a performance of them singing this together and have a few feelings about like, time and growing up and like, life and stuff.

Nothing Would Be Better
This song is kind of generic-sounding sad slow thing about like, love iz pain 🙁 but it’s lyrically nice enough (complex-ish, even) that I bet if I had a specific personal feeling to pin it on I’d listen to it like a hundred times.

First Impressions: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You”

Kenzie: I mean, look. “I Really Like You” is a fucking perfect pop song, in my opinion. This is glittery swooning pale pink pop at its finest and most addictive, like consuming whole swaths of cotton candy and sucking on your fingertips to get every last remnant of sugar. Swooping butterflies in your stomach, it’s way too soon I know this isn’t love, the feeling at the top of a roller coaster right before you plunge, I really really really really really really like you, and I want you, do you want me, do you want me, too? This is about the huge importance of tiny braveries, the adrenaline-rush of putting yourself out there, the euphoria of a crush, of really really really liking someone and wanting them enough that you have to tell them. My roommate has already yelled at me for listening to it on repeat, but it’s fine, because I’ve already got the words memorized and I’ll just sing it at the top of my lungs instead.

Corbin: My boyfriend, whose top played song on iTunes is a remix of “Call Me Maybe,” was sitting across from me when I started playing this song yesterday afternoon. “What is this?” he said, within the first fifteen seconds. “The new Carly Rae Jepsen single,” I said. “Hmm,” he said, and feigned going back to his work. “Not into it?” I said. “I think ‘Call Me Maybe’ was a one time thing for me,” he said. Then the first chorus hit, and his head snapped up, and we locked eyes and started laughing like, oh my god, this is happening, this is real, this is an actual song, can you believe? Laughing because it’s hilarious to say “really” six times in a row, especially when you know there are going to be people who call your songs stupid no matter what words you’re saying, but also laughing because every one of those reallys is piercingly honest and set to a backbeat that sounds like the entire glitter budget for an 80s fantasy film upended in front of a fan and like, isn’t that what delight is, just truth and bright things? Before we even got to the bridge he was like, “you know, this is really catchy.” And I was like, “Really really really really really really catchy. I know.”

Aria: I knew I was going to love this song because “Kiss” is possibly my favorite pop album of all time, like, album, as far as every song being solid, play all the way through every time, no skips. I don’t believe Carly Rae Jepsen can make a bad pop song.

So other than the obvious hand-clasping jumping-up-and-down squealing of this being a perfect slumber party song, hairbrush-mic singalongs and plush pajamas and all, other than telling you that this song is perfect and everything I wanted from CRJ dipping her toes back into the charts, other than this being in that distinct Carjeps way a song that I have listened to about 12 times on repeat (and is still repeating as I write this) that still refuses to wear thin on me, what strikes me as incredible and special about “I Really Like You” is that it’s SUCH a Pisces. The tide of the mood comes in and out, a light verse leading into a slightly higher energy bridge, cresting over a punchy but still gentle chorus, washing over you. Never too big, never not enough. It balances the external and internal emotion of both the narrator and subject. She says “I’m so in my head,” but also, “all I wanna do is get into your head.” She’s cautious, analyzing her feelings, their feelings, should she stay or go, she shouldn’t but she wants it. Pisces are so interior-oriented, and this song is about the interior of crushes in the simplest way–trying to decide how you feel about someone, and how they feel about you. And I like the element of self control, how the deliberate withholding and tension between them is palpable, and recalls every kiss that doesn’t end in an invitation inside, that temperance of desire. It’s a soundtrack to a very specific kind of romance, not the sinkhole of love that hits like a natural disaster, but something more tender, something to be nurtured rather than consumed by. As much as I hate to ascribe maturity to love–what the fuck do I know about that, anyway–it seems like a more grown up approach to romance, and it’s also just a more Piscean one. Gentle, internal, elusive. Though the (arguably false) distance of cautious constraint often begets more desire, it also raises a question–“I really like you, and I want you, do you want me too?”

I only have one “complaint” and it’s not really a complaint so much because I am weird, but the line “who gave you eyes like that, said you could keep them,” dragged me right out of the song and still does every listen, like, what? I felt very eyes emoji about it, but honestly I like the line because it reminds me of campy body horror. I can’t decide if I think it’s totally out of place or the perfect sneaky weirdo addition to take it to the next level of “this song is amazing” to “oh my god, I fucking love this song and I’m going to chew my own arms off about it.” The line’s position in that kind of stripped-down verse towards the end made it stand out more but also fit in rather than if it were just a really strange line in a bridge or something, so I think I’ve decided it’s perfect and I love it. Or at least, I really really really really really like it.

Sophia: My favorite thing about this song is the “—and I want you, do you want me, do you want me to(o)”. Probably it’s “do you want me too” but I am captivated by the idea that it could be “do you want me to”—do you want me to what? This is Carly Rae Jepsen hurling herself into the void between “I like you” and “I love you” clumsily and wholeheartedly and in shining twinkling lights, in this giddy soap-bubble of a song. It’s perfect. It makes me think spring might come after all. She asks “oh, did I say too much? / I’m so in my head / we’re so out of touch” and then the chorus kicks in again and we know the uncertainty was never real, forget about anything but I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY LIKE YOU!!!!. The space between “I like you” and “I love you” is liminal and strange and she barrels right through it and fills it with confetti, and because she’s Carly Rae you forgive her, you love her for it. There’s no such thing as too much.

Aly: I LOVE THIS SONG SO MUCH I’M GONNA PUNCH A HOLE IN THE SUN. SHE’S BAAAAACK, I shrieked at everyone at work. Who’s back, they said, and I opened my mouth and a swarm of glittering bats flew out. CARLY RAAAAAAAAAE. IT’S BEEN SO LONG. I’m trying to have more coherent thoughts about this but my main emotion is just PURE JOY, excitement, fulfillment beyond my wildest dreams, so it’s difficult. But! I do have some specific non-glitterbat feedback. One of my favorite things about Carly Rae is her voice, which is like Gwen Stefani to the nth-degree level sugar. She has the cutest voice! Like! She’s an amazing singer but she has SUCH A CUTE VOICE and it makes me want to talk to her late at night on the phone. Make her giggle, you know. Anyway. This song is SOOOO good for cutevoice, especially in the quasi-whispered breathy “-but I need to tell ya somethin’-“, but also in what MIGHT be my favorite sequence of lines to date, “Who gave you eyes like that / said you could keep ’em?” I’m not saying Carly Rae has a thing for Harry Styles, I’m just saying that I have shrieked those exact words at a picture of him on more than one occasion. And it’s delivered so well! God! Carly Rae. I love this song as much as if more than I loved Call Me Maybe, and I am so ready for the backlash because I will go to the MAT for Carly Rae. She is the pinnacle of what people don’t like about pop – too catchy, remember they said about Call Me Maybe, to which my friend Britt aptly and perfectly replied, “Sorry… it… did what it intended?” I think about that all the time. This song is SO catchy and SO bubblegum and soooooo beautifully “not about anything important”, which is exactly what makes it so important. Crush biz is real and it is everything! If you don’t believe that you are lying to yourself! And if you can’t relate to something as pure and perfect as “I Really Like You”, both the song and the sentiment behind it, I really don’t know how I’m gonna relate to you, like ever, like at all. 11/10, would recommend, put it in my earballs a thousand more times. Long live Carly Rae, long may she reign.

Tess: There’s something animal about a crush, or at least its something that happens more bodily than the long yeses and nos of love, leaning away and back in, the straight-mouthed dealings that came later even in the happiest stories. I am gluttonous about my own feelings, an offshoot of self-obsession, a walkway on the path to the imaginary mansion in which I think and preen. I like the taste and touch of experiencing myself experiencing the world. It’s selfish, it’s why I get quiet on good dates, luxuriating already. Cotton candy weighs nothing and rots your teeth, and someone who smiles gummy like in a fourth grade class picture and says they like your chewed up nails, holds them up toward the light for only a moment on the street, is like a thousand soft pink dinners when you don’t even know their middle name. Get light and jumpy. You remember, suddenly, that you have got all of these nerve-endings, entirely alive, somehow, still, and you can’t believe. It is– to be hideous and awful, to reveal myself to be one entirely without shame– a lot like the moment when a wave arcs up over your head, when the spray hits your face and every sound made by anything but the water is blocked out, a high wild tumbling second before the full weight of the ocean crashes on you. Portentous, bombastic, it could be done in a week. You could drown. The maybes are the most fun. I am greedy for those inbetweens when you’re free to be nobody’s somebody, move your own bones, but you’re looking. You’re seeing. I like when you can bite your cheek after a phone call, say, hands up. The drop is coming and you’re a big girl. I like the great sugar-soaked ecstasy of new wanting, when you’ve looked in someone’s eyes (“who gave you eyes like that? / said you could keep them”) and felt that click in your brain that can’t be explained or predicted, just, yes. I say yes.

That’s what “I Really Like You” sounds like. I imagine it will be a hit.

All of My Kindness: FourFiveSeconds

woke up an optimist / sun was shinin’ i’m positive / then I heard you was talkin’ trash 

I try really hard to be kind. Or, to be more honest, I try really hard to try to be kind. Not that long ago I was this sort of skittish damaged girl that thought that maybe if I hated with enough weird specificity it might save me; later I was a sad college student that didn’t know how to or want to differentiate between what is astute and what is cruel. I am still both those people sometimes but I am trying to feel myself into something else.

I am twenty-three and there are things about which I feel spiteful; feel angry; feel malevolent. I also try, really hard, these days, to be thoughtful, because some deep part of me wants to lash out and hurt people sometimes, and another part of me is just sort of worried about people, and wants them to be okay, and I am trying to think carefully about which parts of myself I listen to. I’m not, like, saying this because I’m trying to seem like a ~good person,~ or because I’m trying to prove that despite sometimes being an asshole I am totally like, good on the inside and that’s what counts, or whatever. I’m just saying that in my limited and flawed experience kindness has been a thing that I have to concentrate on if I wanna achieve it. Maybe this is because I am not actually that much of an intrinsically good person, maybe it’s just because stuff is hard and everything is complicated, I dunno.

I think I spent a lot of time thinking that being mean proved I was smart. Because if I could poke holes in anything it meant I was better and more whole; but it didn’t, cause there was and are and always will be holes in me, too. Meanness felt so much like understanding but all it was, in retrospect, was me being astute and also unkind. Even if you think you can see everything, that doesn’t mean you’re an omniscient narrator. You can see and see and see; but who are you gonna be when you’re telling what you’ve seen?

I spent a long time like that, this smart mean kid who was always waiting to skewer something just so I could prove I knew how to find its center. It seemed like saying the worst thing had to be the most honest; like saying something as harsh as possible just meant you were being real.

This song is about a different kind of anger. This song is not about a selfish anger, or an anger meant only to be seen. This song is about an anger that comes from someone who is thoughtful and careful and kind; someone who looks real hard at something and then still says–oh. I don’t like this. It’s an anger that comes after kindness.

Trying hard to be kind doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, or that I’ve lost my capacity to decimate something; it maybe means I don’t want to, but it also means sometimes I can try to be honest and okay and I will understand that something I’m facing is neither. My anger is never really gleeful anymore. I worry about it; I worry how much of it might be selfishness and myopia; but I also know there are things worth anger and I try to understand what those are. I think there are times when I’m on the precipice of making some hard decision, or doing something, or just going the hell off, and you think –should I? Am I being reckless and unfair? Am I being weak and small? But kindness is not the same as weakness. Kindness is difficult and sometimes awful; kindness sounds like the rasp in Rihanna’s throat and a spare guitar backing track. Kindness is difficult and odd and lovely; kindness isn’t the same as never being angry, kindness doesn’t mean you’re never at the end of a fraying rope, kindness is–god, who knows. But you gotta try. Or something.

cause all of my kindness / is taken for weakness / now I’m four, five seconds from wildin

ugh, as if

ugh

a playlist for girls who just aren’t that interested

Listen, love is like, great and stuff or whatever. This isn’t a playlist about being single on Valentine’s Day, or about not valuing love as a concept, or even about like, being strong and independent, not that that’s a bad thing. It’s a playlist about wanting to be left alone because the world is complicated, because love and desire are complicated, and because you are important and bored.
Anyway, like, regardless of whatever reaching implications I’m trying to stumblingly explain, mostly, like, oh my god boys are almost universally insufferable and I want them all to go away. That’s what this playlist is about. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Sucker – Charli XCX – so you wanna bang? well, fuck you
M.F.P.O.T.Y. – Cher Lloyd – ew, what’s wrong with you? no the problem is not my attitude
She’s Not Afraid – One Direction – every time I tell her that I want more she closes the door
Bye Baby – Danity Kane – there’s more out there to love than just you
Music to Make Boys Cry – Diana Vickers – don’t need to make you love me
Body Of My Own – Charli XCX – yeah I can do it better when I’m all alone
Panic Cord – Gabrielle Aplin – you were happy, I was bored
Never That Young – Kyla La Grange – I’m not gonna be the other heart
How Ya Doin? – Little Mix – you called, I missed it, never gettin back gettin tired of listening

Pin Her Down on a Photograph Album

What a strange thing, to be a teenage girl. What a strange thing, to be a person who is also a teenage girl. Do you know what I mean? When I was fourteen I didn’t know any music to listen to except what my dad listened to and my dad only listened to classic rock and the more known names from 90s alt rock, so I took his Walkman and his August and Everything After cassette and I listened to it over and over and over. In retrospect I don’t really even know why I liked it, because listening to it now is only good in the way where you understand that a twisting in your gut is important. It’s pretty, though. Maybe that was just it. It’s pretty and it’s horrible and it’s mine and that’s, like, life. Or whatever.

There was a certain point, I think, when I was still a round-faced child, when I wore the same coat every day and tied my hair in a ponytail at the base of my neck because I didn’t think of anything else as an option, when I was just a small person who read books with her claws dug into the awfulness of reality, that I realized sometimes people narrate me. Sometimes people–no, sorry. Sometimes men narrate me, sometimes men narrate me and I’m a character in some thing but never a protagonist. Sometimes I’m there but also not, which is a strange thing to feel when you are a human who is always there in real life. I have always known what it’s like to be seen but only sometimes do I know what it’s like to be. Men narrate me and it’s almost worse when the person they narrate, instead of being only secondary and flat, is–something that rings true in a part of me I wish they couldn’t see. If I am not to be described as a person, can I not at least silently own my own complexities?

And what do you do when some boy says “Maria says she’s dying, through the door I hear her crying, why? I don’t know,” when your own life or death is just a beautiful complicated mystery in somebody else’s story, when the response to “she says she’s tired of life” is “she must be tired of something, round here”? That reduction of reality and specificity and viscerality into some kind of quasi-literary observed melancholy, and the way that gaze isn’t not your own self-image sometimes too.

And sometimes it feels like you’re always the subject but never the narrator but the subject is still there, though, she’s right there in front of you and you get it. You don’t know if the guy describing it gets it in the way that you get it, but you know that what he’s describing feels strangely internal even though it’s all external.

And how angry it makes me, to be somebody’s subject and for them to have the gall to be right. To not just be looked at but seen. To identify with somebody that’s not allowed full narration, who isn’t the main character. The girl in the car in the parking lot, he sings, and I think, that’s me. I’m the girl in the car in the parking lot. I can feel the tender flesh of the palms of my own hands and I can taste the back of my throat and I am still the girl in the car in the parking lot. Just light on skin, just this exterior thing, but described well enough that you can feel the insides of it and you don’t know which makes you feel worse: that it might be ignored, or that the whole of it is seen, but still doesn’t quite matter.

The thing about August and Everything After is it’s a boy that says snap her up in a butterfly net, pin her down on a photograph album, but then when he does you look at that awful flattened thing and you realize he’s captured something a little too real, a gross picture of some tender part of you that you never meant to be visible. Especially to somebody who’d frame it.

I guess all I could really do when I was so young and so enraptured was what I’ve learned to do with a lot of things that are about me but aren’t supposed to be for me–take them anyway. It’s this complex damp incredible perceptive album, this album about exteriority and looking and pain, and those outsides, and those insides, and everything, belong not to an emotive singer-songwriter strumming in the background and watching but to Anna, to Maria, to the girl in the car in the parking lot. To me. Maybe you pinned me down, but that doesn’t mean I should be yours to look at.