I was once living with a roommate that came home one day and told me his elbow was “fucked”. I asked them in what way, but all they could say was that it was “fucked” so I didn’t make anything of it and continued living my life. A few hours (yes, hours) later, they went to the hospital because their arm was still very “fucked”. They came home in a cast because their elbow was, in fact, broken.
I always held on to this memory because I felt that if my roommate had expressed themselves better, they could have received the help they needed much sooner. Rather than saying their elbow was “fucked” would saying something like “it feels broken” or “it feels weird” or “something’s wrong” not have been easier? Merely saying it was “fucked” was too ambiguous, too general, and too inaccurate to be taken as a serious concern.
It never happened to me, but I’ve witnesses children literally getting their mouths washed out with soap for using bad language. However, in modern times, the aversion from using profane language in society, and therefore in music, has reduced greatly. The general public is becoming desensitized to words that previously held more taboo and gravitas. To quote from JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, “That’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “Fuck you” right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery and I have a tombstone and all, it’ll say ‘Holden Caulfield’ on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it’ll say ‘Fuck you.’ I’m positive, in fact.” A succinct prediction coming to fruition seventy years after its publication.
AND so we get to the latest single from Portland, Oregon’s Lo Lytes. He describes “Fuck With My Heart” as an ode to overcoming self-sabotage and personal demons while navigating through a conflict with constantly shifting thoughts and feelings. That in itself is more poetic than the lyrics of the song. Lo Lytes wants to give an insight into the battle he is fighting alone. Wandering feelings of loneliness and isolation in a desolate parallel universe, guided by neon lights that dictate the present and spark reflection on the past. The words to express this in the song are lacking. If “FWMH” was longer than the breakneck 2:17, I am certain Lo Lytes could have achieved a much more intricate story. Despite it sounding as if I am fully bashing Lo Lytes for his choice in lyrics, I understand how the chorus that lends itself to the title of the song was a logical fit. The staccato delivery is perfect to go with the melody and the accompanying music. Because of how short “FWMH” runs, it’s difficult to follow the train of thought. This is intentional, though, because “FWMH” is meant to be a confusing, frenetic wander through Lo Lytes’ internal struggle, blinded and bewildered by the memories of which he is reminiscing. From the almost stream of consciousness writing style, it is evident Lo Lytes does not want to be emotionally manipulated by current conflicts and wants to bring up past events even less.
The imagery of a neon glow revealing a mirage of past memories playing out like scenes to help in Lo Lytes’ pursuit of understanding his own existence is created masterfully with the melody, starting with the dissonance created with the down step in the second chord to introduce the track before moving back up the scale for the third chord in the progression. Sonically, “FWMH” is a stone-cold infectious pop earworm. It’s only the darn lyrics that give away it’s a modern song because the electric keyboard, rolling drum pattern, and that unmistakable 80s snare could have placed “FWMH” in any era from the past 30 years. When the keys start to build the track up with an arpeggio you’re only a few bars in and already flying away from the false sense of safety created only moments before. I love the robotic vocal effects right before the chorus that comes back in at the end to tarnish the otherwise super-catchy pop song. “FWMH” plays as if Lo Lytes has instantly disassociated to go within himself at the beginning of a conflict, and follows the journey from the lulling beginning to instant, almost overwhelming, ascent into the neon world he has created for himself. A brief wander near the edge of reality before fully immersing back into the neon universe.“FWMH” is a catchy, perfectly produced pop song which takes a look at the psyche of the modern male. Grappling with the emotions they understand and trying to express them through their own lense. We can all sympathise, we all have our own struggles in our own realities. How each individual overcomes the bad in their lives depends upon themselves, and themselves alone. Lo Lytes helps to expose this side of himself through the way he knows how. If you don’t have pure angelic baby ears like mine, are don’t mind explicit lyrics, you can’t let “FWMH” pass you by.
Keep an eye on Lo Lytes for more music.