Playing hard-to-get is just one of those things that get our heads spinning, for better or worse.
Michael Barrow & The Tourists are essentially talking about this in their new single “Sweet Honey”. However, I think he’s fallen so head-over-heels for the girl he wants that he couldn’t care less about the hard-to-get part: he just wants to be with her.
That being said, let’s look at the two verses with the chorus in the middle:
There’s a girl that I been keeping my eye on.
She’s got a way of getting under my skin,
and every time I feel like I’m getting closer,
ooh, she’s just not letting me in.
I need that sweet honey,
just a little taste on my tongue,
Gimme that sweet honey,
I wanna be with you baby,
even if I get stuck.
There’s a girl that I been calling up lately.
I think I like her more than I would admit.
But every time I’m trying to tell her,
ooh, she’s just not takin’ the hint.
The chorus repeats a couple times afterwards, and the bridge is an instrumental (I’ll get to the non-lyrical side too, I promise), but I want to look at a couple of the phrases in particular. Between the two lines at the end of each verse, “she’s just not letting me in,” and “she’s just not takin’ the hint,” you can infer that this girl is playing hard to get, although I think the latter shoves a wrench in that theory. I say this because it’s quite possible that she doesn’t even know what he’s “trying to tell her.”
Courtship and relationships aside, when you have to go out of your way to tell someone to take a hint, it should be pretty clear that, prior to your explicit intervention, they had no idea what you were trying to do with said “hint.” With that in mind, maybe Barrow is just so blinded by desire for his “sweet honey” that he’s overestimating the effectiveness of his flirting. Even so, the line “she’s just not letting me in” should indicate that the girl is already aware of his intentions and is, in fact, playing hard to get and I just overanalyzed the second line, but who knows.
Nonetheless, it’s obvious Barrow wants his sweet honey, and it’s also obvious that he will get stuck (cause honey is sticky? Sorry, I had to go there).
Now, let’s move on to the instruments. The band is primarily rocking an electric guitar, bass guitar, and drums, and the melody is very upbeat. This makes sense, because our romantic pursuer is having a blast trying to charm this girl, so the music should certainly mirror that in its tone.
I do want to point out though, that during the first verse, the bass guitar takes center stage, and during the second one, the electric guitar asserts itself a full octave higher. This is a subtle point, and I think it reflects the emotional state of our singer. At the start, Barrow seems more composed, as indicated by the stress on the bass (because the bass has more precise note-plucking). As the song progresses, his emotions are less in check, which the “I’m really excited!” connotation of the higher electric guitar conveys.
All in all, the song is emotionally charged with lyrics and production, and is worth a second listen to take it all in.
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