“Apocalypse” by Cigarettes After Sex

Song of the Week

“Apocalypse” is a sultry performance I can only describe as the singer, Greg Gonzalez, taking a walk through his lovers daydream. Cigarettes After Sex is a dream pop band known for their haunting melodies. The band is originally from Texas and released “Apocalypse” in 2017 as part of their self-titled album. The name of the group alone already implies a relaxing and comforting experience giving you a time and place to best consume their creativity. A journey through a lovers inner most thoughts thrives within this forbidden love story.

Cigarettes After Sex - Bowery Ballroom Show 14855
“Cigarettes After Sex – Bowery Ballroom Show 14855” by Brechtbug is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The first verse opens up a dramatic scene living within the tranquility of the tinkering background melody. “You lept from crumbling bridges watching cityscapes turn to dust / Filming helicopters crashing in the ocean from way above”. The tender timbre intertwines with the extreme language to create a slow motion interactive scene in the listeners imagination. The first line talks about a leap of faith. Falling in love is certainly a risky business especially when there is some sort of extenuating circumstance like in Gonzalez’s case. He brings the listener into this disastrous end with this girl but her observed peaceful wonder is still a mystery.

The chorus turns away from this scene and dives into the depths of this partners mind. “Got the music in you, baby, tell me why / You’ve been locked in here forever and you just can’t say goodbye”. The music in them could be one of two things. It could be Gonzalez comparing music to love. In my experience the closest you can get to experiencing love without love it is through music itself. Some forms of media like movies can come close but nothing is quite like the passion and emotion music will let you communicate. They have tried to stay away from each other but as Gonzalez says they are locked in. Love is tricky and rarely ever a choice to be made but rather a tingling static in the back of your mind that you can’t control.

The music could also be these thoughts of destruction explained in the first verse. Maybe, she is running from a past she can’t escape. In their mind, love is destruction and only causes pain. Give a soul to many heartbreaks and they are bound to have these lingering thoughts in their head. Either way, the connection they share they both turn their backs on for one reason or another.

Cigarette Smoke
“Cigarette Smoke” by Money Munni is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The second verse implies that this love has a string of lovers other than Gonzalez. He claims to be the real thing next to all of these imposters. “Kisses on the foreheads of the lovers wrapped in your arms / You’ve been hiding them in hollowed out pianos left in the dark”. The line romantically speaks on hook-up culture and the mental aftermath. He draws again this link to music and love when he sings about keeping their love in hollowed out pianos. The music/love she has is not for them. The piano being hollow is the empty nothingness they get after hooking up rather than the everlasting symphony from this other single kiss. She tries to fill his void with others but according to Gonzalez the face she puts on has nothing supporting it.

The bridge comes full circle as we return to the opening hellscape. “Your lips, my lips / Apocalypse / Go and sneak us through the rivers / Flood is rising up on your knees / I know you want me / Come out and haunt me”. This one kiss is so filled with passion and so unspeakable that he is saying the world as they know it would end if they ever let it into existence. The echo of them ripples through Gonzalez’s mind as he begs her to haunt him further. The sting of memory is all they have left. They’re not ready to let go and may never be.

Verse three lets us know a little about their history and this sexual tension that they let grow for years. “Sharing all your secrets with each other since you were kids / Sleeping soundly with the locket that she gave you clutched in your fist”. This love for the movie screens was planted way back when they were kids. Any piece of her he clings onto in hopes that maybe one day or even in another life they might find each other and the time will be right. The aching for each others company is eternal and could be ended with one erupting kiss. Since he knows her as well as he does we can also assume his is right in his declaration that he is her endgame and the other hookups only subside her longing for him temporarily.

Cigarettes After Sex
“Cigarettes After Sex” by _Pek_ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The outro makes it clear that even with the pain he knows they both feels inside he isn’t going anywhere. “When you’re all alone / I will reach for you / When you’re feeling low / I will be there too”. Their love exists solely from a classic love scene we all know. Two lovers on either side of a door. They both want to knock with everything inside of them but they just can’t for some exceptional reason. It’s not the most pleasant feeling in the world. Their love will forever inhabit this scene and this scene alone. Neither one willing to start the apocalypse.

If I could talk to this love lost wandering soul I would tell him to go for it. We spend most of our days living with our complacency and comfortability. In the end, I can’t think of anything better to risk a hellscape ending for other then love. The love of family and friends is what makes life worth living so taking action towards the goal of connection is something a person rarely regrets. If it’s not the love you recieve it’s the lessons you learn about yourself in the end! That’s my perception on the song. What do you think? Does she stay away because of heartbreak from the past or is there some other music that leaves her haunting him?

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