For me, “Hopeless Thing” emulates the lingering afterglow that belongs only to summer evenings, as twangy guitar lines pulse over steady acoustics like fireflies sparking up a dark blue atmosphere. Reese W.’s voice provides the warmth in this scene, as his candid charm and raw expression reflects the likes of Father John Misty.
The instrumentals are blissfully lazy, and time seems to pass more slowly in Reese W.’s aural landscape. While his tone leans towards folk, the intricate layers and blending of melodies is almost reminiscent of shoegaze. As the song fades out, echoing harmonies melt into fuzzy slide guitar in a way that feels hauntingly serene. “Hopeless Thing” manages to evoke nostalgia upon the first listen, uncovering a mirage of memories you weren’t aware you missed.
Got one foot dangling off into the deep end
I can’t keep waiting here in vain for you
Unless you want me to
Lyrically, the song is both sweet and sorrowful. The writer feels desperately strung along by his lover, but claims that he doesn’t mind drowning in this state of anguish, so long as it’s for her. It appears that doubt has entered their relationship through her lens, while his rose-tinted vision distorts their unbalanced dynamic. Even in her physical presence, her distance nearly prompts him to leave. But he can’t. Aware of their relationship’s impossible fate, he makes peace by addressing it endearingly, referring to her as his “hopeless thing.” It is a hopeless thing to love someone who does not desire you in return – every effort to chase them only seems to draw their love in every direction but towards you. If you’ve ever been there, you’re likely familiar with this question, “do I lose my best friend, or myself in the process of loving someone who cannot offer the same?”
Wish you would tell me what I should do
Unsure of how to proceed, the writer places his fate in her hands. Perhaps, the messiness of unrequited love could smooth itself out if she offered some insight, but her lack of clarity is clear enough. The writer begins to accept that his muse has come and gone, while a part of him hopes that she urges him to stay.
You push me down into the snow / Ask me who am I to feel cold
Though I associate “Hopeless Thing” with summertime, its conclusion is distinct from the rest of the song’s warm atmosphere. The soft backing vocals emulate gusts of howling winter wind, while Reese W. gives us a glimpse into a memory with his lover. Prior to this line, he inquires and admires his muse from afar. This is our first encounter with her, and it’s sweet. He has expressed the bitter feelings that accompany confusion and loss, but now we get to see the love beneath it. In two lines that paint an intimate picture of their romance and the depth of his anguish, Reese W. offers a bittersweet ending to this lovely, touching track.