It’s always easy to see things coming in retrospect. How many times have you asked yourself what you would’ve done, “If only I had known?” It’s something that can haunt us every day of our lives, but ultimately, is what makes living what it is. There’s a sort of unpredictability that comes with waking up to a new day every morning, unsure of what the world is going to throw at you. Of course, despite that, we still cannot help but feel a bit like passive watchers to all of our day’s events. Even when we see small signs of something going wrong, we simply cannot put them all together until after the fact. This is particularly true with signs of mental illness, as beautifully described by Sonny Elliot’s “Adore You.”
Beginning the delicate strumming of an acoustic guitar, the mood is instantly set the moment Chris Peden’s (singer of Sonny Elliot) whispering voice enters the track. Singing directly to someone, Peden recounts seeing the signs add up despite being unable to do anything about it, “A car crash is coming / So why can’t I look away? / I know it’s gonna hurt you / But I can’t stop it, anyway.” There is an obvious sense of sadness that comes across in his voice which adds a lot to getting his message across through this song. In the chorus, a softly played piano joins the fold of instruments adding something ethereal to what was already a somber song. Continuing his message, Peden relays to whomever he is talking to, “Just know we all adore you.”
The next verse begins similarly to the first one but with the added piano. Again, reliving the fact that he saw this coming, Peden sings, “A car crash is coming / So why can’t I look away?” However, this time around, the last two lines of the verse are changed. Whereas the first verse seems to be watching something bad about to unfold, this verse seems to be reflecting on something that has already occurred, “Beautiful butterfly / The one who flew too high.”
Despite what has happened and what may have happened during the person’s life, Peden makes it clear that their memory will live on, “And we won’t change a thing / Who you are, or who you’ve been.” An added piano riff throughout this section of the song only strengthens it and adds emotion to what is being said. The final chorus begins stripped down, the piano playing a minimal number of notes while the guitar only strums once each line is delivered. This eventually builds up to the finale of the song which continues the strumming guitar and piano notes but adds in a ghostly vocal line.
If there is any lesson to be learned from this song, I believe that it’s to remember to remind people what they mean to you. It might be impossible to see every sign add up until after something tragic happens, but it isn’t impossible to be conscious of living in the current moment and embracing those who you love.