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“Venus in Heat” by Jennah Barry: Love, with Complications

VIH

Love is a steady theme in music, dominating the subject of most songs you hear. It is a marvel that the same thing can be sung about over and over and listeners never tire of it. But because of artists like Jennah Barry, the subject of love doesn’t get worn out.

“Sunday morning after

Warm electric buzz

Ridin’ on the wings of the one you love”

Barry takes this universal feeling of love, the muse of every songwriter, and describes it as the peace found in a Sunday morning, the positive energy of a warm feeling, the weightlessness of being supported by a lover. The specificity of the lyrics and the metaphorical images they create paint the experience of being in love in a unique way, making sure the cliched idea of love stays fresh and captivating.

“​​Crying in the bathroom

Just to get it out

Hot tears on my swollen mouth”

Following the euphoric feelings described in the first three lines comes an immediate juxtaposition with crying in the bathroom. Along with this love comes fear of losing it. Perhaps this love is new or unstable, but we can clearly see Barry’s hesitation over her feelings.

“Give me something to hold on to

Something to believe in

If you’re gonna change your mind

I need a reason”

Fear is another well-worn topic in music that just doesn’t get old. The worry over being left, heartbroken, and fallen out of love with is the pitfall of love- a worthy catch for the most coveted feeling. Barry is desperate for the knowledge that this love is real and authentic, as well as the stability of being sure it won’t end out of the blue. She wants a reason to believe in this love, and needs a reason for if there was someday no more love to believe in. The unknown is frightening, and Barry wants to avoid it. Even though a new love is filled with hope, it is also filled with the unknown. Here, Barry expresses her need for reasons as a way to avoid that unknown.

The title of the song, “Venus in Heat,” is another clever expression of love and apprehension over its ending. Venus is the Roman goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. “In heat” is a phrase typically used to describe female animals when they are fertile and become more attractive to their male counterparts. It’s not normally applicable to humans- or goddesses- but it’s an interesting metaphor. Barry’s love right now is “in heat–” it’s active and thriving. But being in heat is temporary, complimenting Barry’s fears about the relationship ending and her tears over this possibility.

Barry’s soft, lilting voice backed by dreamy instrumentation gives you the peaceful feeling of a comfortable love. Though her lyrics show some fear over finding this kind of love, “Venus in Heat” is an ode to love, no matter the snags that come with it.

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