Interpretation of “Kiss” by Michelle Gurevich
Michelle Gurevich is a singer with a unique style that combines a witty sense of humour, uncompromising honesty, and unapologetic ethos. Michelle mostly sings about eroticism in the face of imperfect conditions.
Kiss, the song I am about to provide philosophical commentary on, feels to me like a “hidden gem”. It is not as intriguing as Party Girl, not as hard-hitting as First Six Months of Love, not as downbeat as Friday Night, and not as daring as To Be With Others. On the face of it, Kiss is a simple-minded song. We’ll see if that’s the case.
I could not find a video link, so this is the track on Bandcamp (from the album Ecstasy in the Shadow of Ecstasy): https://michellegurevich.bandcamp.com/track/kiss.
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Below are the lyrics, followed by my comments.
Kiss We've been friends For a long time now Missed our chance For the window of romance I can tell Wouldn't take much to get there Do you dare Let this glance become a stare Let's kiss and see what happens Let's kiss and see what happens Let's kiss and see what happens Let's kiss and see what happens Through the gate Of your prime real estate Oh the view Darling sure looks good on you Slow that kiss Feels good to be nervous I admit I could get used to this
The salient point of this song is erotic—and I like it for that. “Slow that kiss” and keep it real. Though the core proposition of deciding to do something is not limited to the act of kissing a lover.
Michelle basically encourages us to not overthink things. It is okay to have some sense of structure and a plan to follow. Yet too much analysis usually results in inaction. The window of opportunity closes and we are left to belittle ourselves for how useless we think we are.
To all introverts such as myself, Michelle speaks like the elder sibling who gives quality advice on practical matters. The introvert’s capacity for self-reflection is their greatest strength, though it also becomes a curse if not managed properly.
We often dither and postpone important decisions. Implicit in this behaviour is the prejudice that chances occur in regular intervals: a bit like public transport. You missed the bus? No problem, there’s another in ten minutes. However, life does not work that way. At least not at all times.
We tend to think that some divine providence takes care of justice in our little world. If we behave nicely, we will definitely be rewarded. Such is our hope. While this can be plausible given certain conditions, it tends to lead to complacency because we unquestionably rationalise our dithering as a virtue. As we become more experienced, we learn that second chances are the exception to the rule. Either we get it right the first time, or we miss out. It’s gone forever! What we are left with is regret for what we missed and contempt for who we are.
Michelle’s call to action is a classy one. We do not want anyone to turn into a creep. This is about building on top of mutual respect. There is nothing reckless in Kiss. Nothing unilateral. No-one is entitled to anything. What happens is the product of mutual consent which culminates in the suggestion to go for a kiss.
Keeping it classy on erotic matters is just as important as with everything else. The fact that second chances are the exception does not entail desert (in the sense of “merit”): we do not deserve anything in advance. We cannot get everything we want. It is why we need to strike a balance between the extremes of overthinking and recklessness: to act when we can, but to do it from a position of knowledge and with the utmost respect for others and our own self.
Knowledge can only come from a place of honesty. We need to be patient with ourselves and recognise when it is time to disinvest from a certain goal or dream. Not getting the things we want does not mean we are worthless: it may simply be that we have the wrong desires.
We want the wrong things whenever we role-play; whenever we act in conformity with the expectations imposed upon our person by our milieu. We are misguided when we lack perspective and are not behaving philosophically (Who can be a philosopher?). To think that what we desire is necessarily good for us—and indeed achievable—is nothing but bias.
Those granted, there is another point in Kiss that I notice (or perhaps imagine, but please bear with me). It revolves around the theme of falling in love versus growing in love. As the verbs suggest, to fall in love can happen almost by accident. Tripping over, so to speak, only to appreciate the other person through rose-tinted glasses. It is ephemeral and may be unreliable. To grow in love though presupposes sustainability. It cannot be fuelled by momentary enthusiasm alone. This is why the song says “Wouldn’t take much to get there” because there exists a bond that can be strengthened.
This links back to the importance of finding a balance between the extremes of overthinking and recklessness but also the vital insight of keeping it classy. When something is already embedded, there is no point pretending otherwise. Pretentiousness ultimately is counter-philosophical: it is the attitude of lying to oneself. The key is to remain respectful and to never forget that no-one owes us anything.
Think, but don’t overthink. Operate in a moderate way.