The days are
longer, and my ass is out. Three months during which I can metamorphosize,
be/see something new as the sunshine banishes the dark. There’s nothing
like a room full of people to meet; anticipation lingers at the sweaty upper
lip of crushing season.
The days are longer, and my ass is out. Three months during which I can metamorphosize, be/see something new as the sunshine banishes the dark. There’s nothing like a room full of people to meet; anticipation lingers at the sweaty upper lip of crushing season.
I am mystified by the life force that a crush invokes, the way it opens the world over and over. Huddled together at our jobs, in our bedrooms, and on the street, my friends and I speak dramatically and coyly about our crushes. Most of them secrets, all of them sacred. We see each other in our desires, our “types”, needs, patterns, and languages. A friend confiding in me I have a crush on (_) reveals instant information about them, about the breadth of our bond and how much time has passed for us to get to this place of vulnerable exchange. In putting our crushes on the picnic blanket and sharing with the group, we let each other in on our widest/wildest dreams.
My crushes maintain a leonine nature about them. One of the earliest ones was a primary school classmate who sat one row behind me in our Level 2 class. He was meek and veeeery clean - the iron crease on his trousers were kinda jarring. On multiple occasion, I saw him use those fancy office pens that clicked, their ball point tips smooth with black ink and ready to lick paper. I was so into the experience of him. We spoke mostly during break time, when we were amongst our classmates and tending to playground tournaments. But I didn’t neeed to speak to him; the space that existed between him and back of my head proved eventful enough. Every now and then his belongings or his sleeve would encounter my braids hanging down the back of my chair, making way for tiny conversation like oh sorry. Or when he would lean over his desk, perch his small head not too far behing my right ear and whisper-ask for clarity on the assignment. These turbulent events slashed through my school daze, giving way to light and causing my ears to go zing zing zing.
The Sundays’ 1997 dream pop hit Summertime is not a song about having a crush but rather a song about the season of crushing. (ROMANTIC PISCEAN SEEKS ANGEL IN DISGUISE)
Factually, it was a response to mid 90s dating culture: lead singer Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin were growing disillusioned as friends of theirs took to the late Y2K boom of singles meet-ups, dating sites, and personal ads as paths to true love. The duo found it “tragic and funny.”
Summertime is a jocular song made sweet: Gavurin’s jangly guitar opens the song like big white gates made of curled iron, as Wheeler’s lilting voice ushers you into the season of love. The days are longer, and my ass is out. Three months during which I can metamorphosize, be/see something new as the sunshine banishes the dark. There’s nothing like a room full of people to meet; anticipation lingers at the sweaty upper lip of crushing season. If having a crush offers a world of endless possibilities and affiliations, summer is the ultimate backdrop through which this world can be materialized.
Amidst the possibilities, or perhaps even because of it, the crush can present like a bad habit, devil’s food. Something uninvited that cannot be sustained in your current adulthood but that you ultimately will be lured towards. In my notes app, after coming clean to myself about a recent crush, one I personally still deem dangerous and scary, I wrote “The thing about superficial attraction and desire is that it has to be expelled, let out, and ran towards instead of repelling it, ignoring it, or shying away from it. It’s the only way to kill the thing that twists u!” A similar recant, I realized, of what Sontag said regarding “dreary feelings”: Say I have a dreary feeling (z) which I want to combat – feeling which gives rise to something I repeatedly do or say that I wish I didn’t. If I merely suppress the behavior, I recharge the feeling behind it. Recipe for killing the feeling: Act it out in an exaggerated form.
In Bank Head and Waitin’, Kelela draws us deep into the nexus of a crush. The Gemini-born songstress, producer, and fellow DC baddie maintains a discography of atmospheric tunes that explore the intricacies and rhythms of human connection.
Bank Head inches in like a summer storm: gusty/gutsy, steaming, and bold. Lightning then thunder. Kelela stands under hot winds as heartbeat synths drown out the rain; she’s eyeing a possible contender, something she’s wanted for a while now. It’s all I dreamed of....time stops and she fucks it slow. She’s playful, she’s tempered, she’s into direct eye contact, but she’s also…urgent. There’s no need to hide. In a sea of blue and green lights, she wants to eat the world. She wades slow and bides her time, as the beat builds. In Bank Head the crush perseveres, it expands, and possibilities abound. The crush maintains a portal. Something tells me you’re a keeper.
Fade to Waitin’, four years later, Kelela harmonizes with ghosts of crushes past. We’re coming in at a tragic part of the story as she stands on the opposite side of the veil, catching sight of an ex-lover turned unrequited crush. It’s like the first time but different, saw you there and it fucked me up. As she sings her way to the bridge, the veil lifts and floats, whisking us to a time when it was effortless, possible, cool drink of water… damn didn’t we have a good time? She contends with what’s left and what to do with it. In Waitin’, the earth is still steaming but no one’s here. It’s just her.