Appearances, as we’ve heard said many times throughout our lives, can be deceiving. And sometimes, detrimentally so. That’s because it’s difficult, or near impossible, to address a situation if you are entirely unaware of it. To successfully tackle a problem, first you must be able to identify it.
As we’re all well aware, issues are rarely laying out in the open waiting to be resolved, especially other people’s. Instead, they’re usually hidden skillfully under the deceivingly glossy veneer of shallow pleasantries, passive-aggressiveness, or comedic acts of self-deprecation.
This is why the age-old adage of not judging a book by its cover remains universally applicable. One should not presume to know what’s going on inside somebody else’s mind, no matter what any external clues might indicate. Even the most desperate person is capable of faking a genuine-looking smile. This is because in mammals, dissimulation, or the act of saving face, is a time-tested and foolproof self-defense mechanism we have picked up in our evolutionary journey.
“Overthinking,” the latest single by German four-piece Rikas, is a prime example of this ancient, and ultimately pernicious, evolutionary response in action.
A peppy, easygoing, and happy-go-lucky number featuring warm basslines, amiable harmonies, and summery melodies, the song is a textbook example of someone’s anguished cry for help perceived through the transparent facade of good humor. Amidst an otherwise upbeat and carefree musical context, the narrator begins by telling us that lately things haven’t been going well for them:
“I’ve been overthinking
I’ve been in the kitchen
Trying to do the dishes
You know I’ve been so lonely
I’ve been super lonely again.”
To make matters worse, the perceived ease with which the person whom the speaker is addressing can deal with life’s endless list of setbacks seems to foster an unhealthy measure of envy, which the speaker appears emotionally unequipped to deal with:
“You make it look so easy for everyone
But it can’t be done
I’ve been overwhelmed by the jealousy
Can’t you see?
I’ve been falling down.”
This unreasonable comparison quickly becomes a dangerous slippery slope, at the bottom of which the narrator encounters a mortifying sense of existential dread:
“I’m staring at the ceiling
Trying to find a meaning
Something to believe in
Now it’s not so easy.”
This ossifying panic renders them helpless and emotionally dependent, a fact they allude to just in passing before reiterating their inability to stop overanalyzing what might otherwise be an ordinary and innocuous situation:
“I’ve been feeling down
Wish you’d be around
It’s impossible to know the identity of this anonymous person or their relationship to the narrator. What we can safely infer, however, is that the speaker’s incapacity to address their issues in an adequate and timely manner has enabled their life to fall out of control.
In an attempt to portray a false sense of happiness and normalcy, they have dug themselves a hole out of which they seem incapable of escaping.
In the end, no matter how loud they scream for help or how sincere their pleas might be, the speaker’s reluctance to communicate openly and transparently has created a chasm too wide to bridge. Finding themselves in a dismal state of self-alienation, mistrust, and paralyzing insecurity, their once safe and reliable method of self-defense has ultimately caused more damage than they could ever have imagined.