I'm intrigued by your post about the "legalgrind" thing in the teasers, and I'm fully on board with the possibility (more probability in my head) that this song is a drag/shade on Simon/Syco/Sony/SJPR and anyone else who's fucked him over these last seven years. I even sent Amy an note about it on Friday (I told her she didn't need to reply, I was just venting). In any case, you seem to be alluding the possibility that this may mean something else. May I ask what you think it might be?
I made a reply but mobile Tumblr ate it… I’m sorry.
I think Louis knew that he couldn’t publicly acknowledge that BTY was from personal experience– and maybe even suspected that he would have to say so during promo.
He compensated by using the BTY teaser to outline his reality, and also to mention that his album was honest.
I realized, while listening today, how BTY was an inverse of Just Hold On. Where the promised reunion in JHO was reassuring and consoling (“You can be who you were, or who you’ll become”), in BTY, reunion is not healthy. It’s poisonous, disorienting, and almost done against one’s will. It’s Stockholm Syndrome– without the warm overtones. “You got me cornered and my hands are tied.”
The singer has lost a sense of who he is– “I don’t even know myself, I don’t own the way I feel.” He’s in pain. He’s forced to play wicked games. The laughter is not joyful but numbing. The “someone else” isn’t a romantic partner but a business partner.
I know you say you know me, know me well
But these days I don’t even know myself, no
I always thought I’d be with someone else
I thought I would own the way I felt, yeah
I call you but you never even answer
I tell myself I’m done with wicked games
But then I get so numb with all the laughter
That I forget about the pain
He keeps getting pulled back into situations that are stressful and emotionally damaging. His reputation gets dragged (“you drag me down,” perhaps a reference to MITAM), he can’t stop it (“I don’t know how to make it stop,” “I can’t take it”) but he keeps going back– signing with Syco, working with JGG/ SJPR/ being interviewed by Wootton.
Whoa, you stress me out, you kill me
You drag me down, you fuck me up
We’re on the ground, we’re screaming
I don’t know how to make it stop
I love it, I hate it
And I can’t take it
But I keep on coming back to you
And I guess you’ll never know
All the bullshit that you put me through
And I guess you never know, no
Yeah, so you can cut me up and kiss me harder
You can be the pill to ease the pain
Compare these lyrics from Zayn’s lUcOzAdE:
Seeing the pain side in this house of fear
Time heals pain and promotes self-soothing
I’m getting caught up in the feelings that they bring
A lack of sanity, losing touch with reality
I’m tryna fucking scream but the words won’t come out.
I see lUcOzAdE as a metaphor for things they do to mask the pain– literal things, like pills and sugary drinks– as well as metaphoric things, like songs and albums.
“Cut me up and kiss me harder” is a violent imagery– to show the supposedly good things done for Louis (Triple Strings, AGT, girl band, Eleanor) that are actually unwelcome, like a forced kiss. The song’s spareness is no mistake. Louis wanted every word to be heard. And he does have full creative control of his art.