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Writing About Music (Honors 345A)

This guide features essays written by students as part of the class Writing About Music (Honors 345A, Fall 2018).

"3/3" (Annie Liu)

THE INDIVIDUAL TRACK: “3/3” by The Japanese House

This dreamy track captures the tired feelings of being stuck in a relationship that’s going nowhere. You keep pushing for something more out of your partner; maybe it’s love, attention, or loyalty. You give all of yourself, 3/3, but they aren’t reciprocating. You are entirely consumed with thoughts of them, their touch, and their smell. You are holding, desperately grasping onto fading romantic memories from the distant past. A love that was once full of vibrant color is now black and white. Happiness is fleeting, and you are exhausted. Tired of waking up feeling cold and weak, you gather your last bit of strength to pick yourself up and leave.

This song is filled with pain, but it’s not sad; it’s heartbreaking and bittersweet all together. Their love for each other was as strong as ocean waves crashing onto the shore. You can picture their dates on the beach, wind blowing through their hair, sitting on a blanket, and looking out into the sparkling waters. Things have changed. Her lover may still be there physically, but no longer emotionally. What happened? Where did that love go?
Do you still have bones in your back?/Stop asking me that/I handed over all of me/ Three out of three: Beginning the song with a question to her lover, The Japanese House paints a picture of her broken relationship. During this part, I could imagine her closing her eyes, clenching her hands into fists, and asking “Do you still love me? When did you stop caring?” She shows her efforts trying to communicate to her lover, however there’s no response, no meaningful response. You can feel her lover in the song, but they’re absent. You hear their presence throughout this song, almost like a heavy weight over the artist.

Despite this weight, the music flows naturally. It is pleasant to listen to; there’s a soothing, reminiscent aspect to it, like you’re back at the beach watching the blue tides roll onto the shore and draw back into the ocean.

You lost me in the maze/Where pictures of your face/Were lucid in the haze/They took up so much space: I think I know this feeling all too well. When you have someone you love or loved, and they suddenly disappear from your life. You question and question, “Why? Where did we go wrong? Did I do something?” You want to go back to when times were happy between the two of you. You begin to replay your favorite moments together in your head, searching for that warmth. Seeing the tiniest things may remind you of a special memory. It hits you hard, to remember the entire relationship, and to put it behind you. Going through this slow process is probably one of the most difficult parts of getting over someone. 
Watch me as I go/As I flicker through the moves/ Emotionless and frozen/ I was going through the motions: This is The Japanese House saying goodbye and finally leaving to put her lover in the past. The weight is lifted off her shoulders. She’s confident that she’s making the right choice for herself. Yet, there’s almost an underlying layer to her voice expressing that she wishes things turned out differently, that it’s not too late to fix the relationship.

She’s back to the ocean, in the same spot that they once sat, but she’s alone. She’s content. This is a song for acknowledging your personal growth through past relationships. It may have ended badly, you may have felt lifeless at one point, but here you are now, moved on, and happy. You’re figuring everything out, one step at a time. 


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