Do you want to be her or be on her? Both Maybe? Let “Honey” by Ahli help you answer that question.
An ancient proverb I first heard at a sleepover in tenth grade, if that tells you anything, goes something like this: “I don’t know if I want to be her or be on her.” The first time I heard “Honey” by Ahli for, the phrase immediately came to mind. Of course, in the case of this song, the latter is probably truer. But all the same, this song tells a story that many young women know very well. Some of the most intense same-sex relationships and friendships exist at the precarious junction between jealousy and attraction.
“Give me your clothes so I can touch your skin, inhale your perfume ‘till I can drown in it.
He’s lyin’ with you I bet you fit just right. But I’m thinking of you almost every night.”
The first lines of “Honey” perfectly set up the entanglement of jealousy and attraction. “Give me your clothes,” could theoretically be a platonic and innocuous statement on its own, but this line quickly gives way to an image of drowning in perfume and an admission of jealousy. The chorus of the song also furthers the feeling of confusion.
“But I know, oh I wanna be her. She’s my own personal brand of dopamine, real gold, and everyone’s turning green. God knows I wanna be her. But I gotta catch her first.”
Ahli never makes it clear whether people are jealous of this girl because she is “real gold” and someone that everyone wants, or that people are jealous of the man she does choose to be with. In either case, the feelings she’s written about are a lot more complicated than a typical case of unrequited love.
I was tempted to compare Ahli to any number of other indie rockers who write songs along similar lines. “Honey” doesn’t have the same lo-fi/ soft grunge sound of an act like Adult Mom, nor does she have the upbeat synth vibes like King Princess. “Honey” isn’t as straightforward and sad as something you might see from Phoebe Bridgers or Julian Baker either.
There’s something about the sound of “Honey” that makes it feel a few years older than it actually is. The combination of the bluesy guitar riffs and delicate piano probably accounts for this time capsule feeling. I can imagine the backing track pairing equally well with a singer much older than Ahli. I can also imagine it playing well a couple of decades ago. The lyrics and perspective of this song are unquestionably modern though. This anachronistic feeling threw me off at first but, it will probably help Ahli stand out in a field flushed with new voices. Especially when many of them sound so similar.
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