I’m an Aries, evidently. I was born on April 3rd, which means, if the seers and soothsayers over at astrology.com are correct, that I’m a “leader of the pack”, impulsive and blunt. Aries is a fire sign, like Leo and Sagittarius, and it’s ruled by Mars, the red planet named after the Roman god of war. Seeing as I’m a nervous homebody who once apologized to someone after they spilled a glass of water on my lap at a restaurant, I’m not sure I can feel the flames of war coursing through my veins, but my friends who are into astrology tell me that not believing you’re an Aries is, in fact, the most Aries trait of all.
I’ve always found the idea of astrology fascinating and somewhat terrifying at the same time. On the one hand, the idea that our personalities and destinies are determined by the alignment of planets and stars is exactly the sort of weird mystical nonsense that I glom onto when I’m in one of my New Age moods (which usually involves me listening to Enya while wondering if I was a tarot reader named Juniper in a past life). On the other hand, astrology puts you at the mercy of the cosmos, which lends the whole thing an undercurrent of existential helplessness. But then again, the fact that newspapers are so kind as to provide windows to the future in between the comics and the obituaries means that that existential helplessness can be done away with if you’re in the right state of mind.
Emma Charles, the singer-songwriter behind “Scorpio”, has had the stars on her mind ever since she talked to a friend of hers. According to a statement Charles made on Instagram, this friend told her that she was born “on the cusp of Scorpio and Sagittarius”. After doing some research, Charles discovered that these two signs are practically polar opposites. Scorpio is a water sign, while Sagittarius is a water sign; Scorpios are introverts and Sagittariuses
(Sagittarii?) are extroverts; and so on. Inspired by these dual states, Charles wrote “Scorpio” about these two disparate parts of herself. “Scorpio” has a duality in its own right: although it’s very much an indie-folk song, there are electronic elements as well. That’s not unusual in and of itself (just ask Bon Iver), but Charles makes good use of the sonic juxtaposition. There’s the expected contrast between cold electronic sounds and warm, dreamy folk, but there’s an emotional contrast that goes the other way. The chirpy, blipping synth pattern running through the song is cheery and playful, while Charles’ guitar (not to mention her voice) is wistful and introspective. It’s appealing, and it’s just different enough to make an impression.
Even if you don’t believe in astrology, it’s easy to relate to this song. If you’ve ever found yourself between one thing and another, in a liminal state where you feel like your very existence is a contradiction, you already get where Charles is coming from. And when that uncertainty comes in the form of a pleasant, smooth indie-folk single, it’d take a real contrarian to deny its charms. Which, as we all know, is such a Gemini move.
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