Astrology fans out there are aware that mercury retrograde is on the horizon. But for those who aren’t as into planetary alignment and their emblematic meanings, I’ll catch you up to speed. Literally, mercury retrograde is an optical illusion where the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards from Earth. Symbolically, however, mercury retrograde is usually interpreted to be a time of communication disruption: misunderstandings are plentiful, conflicts are likely to occur, and connections tend to sour all within this period. But I don’t necessarily agree with this interpretation. Instead, I think mercury retrograde beckons us to reflect on connections that suffered a breakdown in communication. And as luck would have it, Kacey Fifield’s latest single, “Self Sabotage”, provides a moment for listeners to look inwards and review how they contributed to the miscommunication in a relationship.
“Self Sabotage” is an alt-pop single inspired by the artist’s best friend and their relationship with a self-sabotaging ex. The song gives insight as to why one might have hindered or "severed" past connections. The single opens with guitar strumming as Fifield assumes the role of saboteur and delivers the first verse. Within this verse, listeners learn that this saboteur has a fear of commitment. There are two separate admissions that lead to this conclusion. The first admission: they felt “a spark” between themselves and the person they hurt. The second admission: they jumped the gun on ending the relationship. They never allowed this spark to evolve into a flame, or as they put it; “Knew it wouldn’t last forever / But I didn’t let it start”. Rather than communicating these admissions to the former partner, they’re instead framing their sudden exit from the relationship as “a favor” to the former partner in the pre-chorus. Here slow bass notes appear before they ramp up and transform into a cool melody that turns the chorus into a dance single to work your frustrations out to. Reframing the relationship’s end is the saboteur’s way to prevent any potential hurt their former partner might have experienced if the two would have committed to a deeper connection. However, the saboteur fails to realize that by ending the relationship in the fashion they did - with no communication and “block[ing]” their former partner – they’ve created the hurt they were attempting to spare them from. Yet, in the mist of all this confusion the saboteur has unintentionally caused, the saboteur is still carrying a torch for their former partner. Despite “showing their true colors” in the song’s powerful bridge, I think a little communication about their commitment anxieties could have saved this relationship. We only get this hindsight after concentrated reflection, though.
Kacey Fifield is an independent singer and songwriter currently based in Los Angeles. With a confessional-styled discography, Fifield’s music centers on sharing intimate details of their own life that stir up a sense of familiarity and recognition within listeners. The artist released their debut album Between The Lines, last September. The album features 12 tracks that showcase Fifield’s ability to experiment and go beyond the confinements of the pop genre; keeping listeners interested by fluctuating between dance, electronica, and bedroom pop. Fans bound to and nearby Hollywood have the chance to see Fifield perform live this Saturday, August 5th at the Whiskey A Go Go. The performance is available to all, and tickets can be found here. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with Fifield’s set beginning at 9:00 PM. If you’ve enjoyed Fifield’s latest single as much as I have, show them some virtual love in the form of streams, likes, and follows.
Written by Giavanna Gradaille
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