Remember the first time you fell in love?
It felt magical, almost ethereal, like the feelings you shared with your beloved were not of this world.
But, love can also be scary.
You’re experiencing completely new, intoxicating feelings that possess you and make you obsess over your lover.
It feels amazing, but, at the same time, you feel a little powerless; will love end up hurting you?
We see this fear of love in Emily James’s “Foreign Land”. A pop-influenced singer-songwriter from New York, James recently released an acoustic version of the track which strips away its pop textures, leaving some light acoustic guitar and James’s moving voice.
The singer’s vocals dominate in this acoustic piece. This stripped down version really brings out the soul in her voice.
I keep thinkin’ bout how
I keep thinkin’ bout you
deep in the night.
Something tells me that there’s
an element of energy that
I can’t deny.
When you first fall in love, you tend to think about and obsess over your beloved throughout the day. There’s an “energy” that feels different to anything else you’ve experienced, which can feel a little daunting at first.
And I’m not playing with your heart,
not playing hard to get.
No I’m not in it for the chase,
I won’t be backing off
or acting all disinterested,
but I might need to slow down the pace.
The way in which some of us play “hard to get” or act indifferent to the other are all defense mechanisms we arm ourselves with to protect us from getting hurt. James believes in slowing down, but she also believes in opening her heart, even if it ends in heartbreak.
I don’t wanna be left on the borderline.
I just wanna be myself, be with you tonight.
Let’s be free, lose our sense of direction tonight.
Here we see her courageous approach to love; she believes in completely putting yourself out there, or not at all.
James’s voice is soft and soothing in the verses, but really shines in the chorus with her gentle, soulful vocals. She also sings the chorus with more vigor, adding significance to her words.
Cause’ this is all foreign land for me.
Breaking into new territory,
I’ll let your eyes be my guide,
wrap your fingers through mine,
and listen to the rhythm as the heart keeps time.
This is foreign land for me,
so baby, tread carefully.
The singer compares experiencing love for the first time to entering foreign land. This makes sense, as we feel the same mix of excitement, fear, and wariness in both scenarios.
James chooses not to overthink her actions though, letting her beloved “guide” her in their love.
She warns him to “tread carefully”, however. Letting your guard down and allowing someone else into your heart requires a lot of trust.
The fact that the singer repeats the line several times towards the end of the track shows how wary she is of love’s power to hurt.
James details her own fears about love in “Foreign Land”, but the song also serves as a warning to the listener; love can be dangerous, so tread carefully.