“Whatever Works” by Roller Derby: Love, Sacrifice, and Desperation


A longing post-breakup reflection, “Whatever Works” by Roller Derby reminisces over a failed relationship and tries to figure out how to reignite it. With dreamy vocals and relaxing instrumentation, it sounds like Philine Meyer, the vocalist behind the song, is playing it cool. But when listening to the lyrics, you can tell it is anything but. 

“Are you happy again? Do you think of me still?

Are you lonely at night? So am I

Do you miss the time?”

Speaking to her ex-partner, Meyer asks many questions typical of those who have recently ended a relationship. Are they happy without me? Have they moved on? Do they miss me? Roller Derby captures the essence of missing someone and wondering how they could be okay without you- especially when you haven’t been okay without them. 

“Whatever works, it’s good

Whatever works, it’s fine

Have it your way and don’t think twice”

Meyer wants this person back in her life, and she is willing to compromise and sacrifice parts of that life if it means her partner coming back. “Whatever works” for her partner works for her. This near desperation to rekindle the relationship may sound a bit unhealthy, but it is certainly not uncommon in love. Being in love is unique, fragile, and something people are often desperate to hold onto. Going from being in a relationship with someone to being just a friend- or maybe even a stranger- is a change not everyone is cut out for, and a change many would give up anything to avoid. 

Relinquishing control, telling the other person “have it your way,” is one of those sacrifices. And though it may get that person to come back, it’s hard to know if it will be sustainable down the road. But with the lyric “you’re the only one I’m longing for,” we see that sustainability is not Meyer’s concern. She wants this person here, now, and that is all that matters.  

“What is it really that you fear?

Why don’t we wait another year?”

Here it seems Meyer is questioning why the relationship ended. Perhaps the reason the relationship ended doesn’t make sense to her, prompting her to ask, “what is it that you really fear?”- why did it really end? Alluding to commitment issues, she offers to wait another year, maybe to give her partner time to adjust to a serious relationship. Whether her partner was scared of labels, or even marriage, it seems this fear was a contributor to the relationship’s downfall. And again, Meyer is willing to sacrifice her want of commitment in order to get this person to come back to her.

Through questioning why the relationship ended, questioning if the other person misses her like she does them, and laying out her willingness to work out the relationship, we see Meyer really loves this person. Whatever they want, she will give, because all she wants is to have them back. A display of the sacrifices and desperation found in the trials of love, “Whatever Works” by Roller Derby showcases just how willing people are to compromise what they want for who they want.


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