Lykke Li‘s latest release, so sad so sexy, offers a similar thesis statement on life as The Verve‘s signature single, “Bittersweet Symphony” (1997) in the form of “sex money feelings die.”
While it’s difficult to ever hold a candle to The Verve’s biggest hit, “Bittersweet Symphony,” Lykke Li has perhaps successfully made the attempt with a new song off her latest record, so sad so sexy. In keeping with the theme of such a title, Li’s “sex money feelings die,” the sixth track of the taut ten-track record, is the anthem of a century that so loves to boil everything down to the lowest common denominator. Simplify, simplify, simplify–until essentially nothing of meaning remains.
So it is that Li reduces, (accurately mind you), the cycle of life down to sex-money-feelings-die. Though it doesn’t always necessarily happen in this order (save for the die part), life is, in essence, one giant chase that rarely results in a satisfying yield of either of the former three pursuits. Death, however, probably isn’t that satisfying either as you can’t enjoy the release-no, you have to be motherfucking unconscious to achieve the ultimate orgasm of life: rigor mortis. Then again, some of us are unconscious for most orgasms anyway.
Similarly to “Bittersweet Symphony,” “sex money feelings die” doesn’t offer its listener much of a consolation to the trajectory of life. The unavoidable inevitabilities of it, if you will. That even the happiest of persons (which, to Americans, still somehow connotes having vast wealth despite certain recent suicides to prove the contrary) can’t avert the unpleasant weight of knowing that there’s an expiration on that happiness–though, of course, the concept of being happy is already ephemeral to begin with. Still, those with more delusional-oriented coping mechanisms have the ability to ignore that life is a sex money feelings die cycle. There is no point. Not legacy, not “leaving an impression.” We’re here because, pretty much, we’ve got nothing else cooking and we might as well ride the wave until it’s over or becomes too rough to endure. It’s a bittersweet symphony that’s life–that’s right. Richard Ashcroft wasn’t lying, and neither is Lykke Li.
Waxing about the need for distraction from the disappointment of this irrevocable (no matter how much virtual reality we’re allotted) track we’re all on–some at a more glacial a.k.a. less prosperous pace than others-Li comments on her need to dodge the added disappointment of love lost by drinking and drugging heavily. After all, as she says, “I don’t wanna think about, think about you/Drink up, drink up/I’m so fucked up/All I want is you.” And yet, for women, maybe life’s cycle is just a little bit harder unless she decides to do the gender fluid thing and just opt for romantic relationships with other women or M-to-F transes, who are far more emotionally reliable than a bloke who will likely detach himself from your sex money feelings die narrative on a whim. To add insult to injury, females are required to have a period cycle, too. Like can there just be one cycle in a woman’s existence that isn’t filled with agony?
Even so, Li seems a bit more cheerful about the cradle to the grave process than Ashcroft, who bluntly asserts, “It’s a bittersweet symphony, that’s life/Trying to make ends meet/You’re a slave to money then you die.” There’s no sugar coating, no attempt at making his listeners feel even the slightest bit of comfort about the inexplicable proceedings that entail growing from a fetus to a youth to an old and finally a corpse. In contrast, Li at least assures, “Baby don’t you cry,” as though to tell us that there is, in fact, some comfort in knowing that it will all end. That this literally shall pass. Our bodies into the ground. Our worries and anxieties into the ether. It all seems so silly because of how complicated we make it by trying to fight and resist the chain of life (and it is very much a chain shackling you to despair diluted with occasional pleasures perceived to be family, friends and an adequate bank balance). But it’s simple: sex money feelings die. The only in-betweens to that thread are your rollercoaster of emotions trying to convince you otherwise.
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