I would love to have been a fly on the wall when this song was being written. Louis is down in the credits as lead lyricist and it’s very easy to relate this one to Harry and Louis. I do not think that the ship imagery would have made it in if the relationship I believe in did not exist. The absolute commitment on lyrical display here is impressive and I don’t really know how to express the way it makes me feel.
Musically speaking, I have to say, I really like the way the end phrases of the verses just kind of tie off. At first I was a little bemused by it, but then I found something to relate it to: it feels like a tidy little cadence in a classical piano piece or something.
The agility of some of the acoustic guitar reminds me of the way Miyavi plays (which is interesting, because Louis’ voice reminds me a bit of Miyavi’s). Also, my roommate pointed out that the opening is very reminiscent of the opening of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”, so I went and listened to it, and yes, absolutely. I’m kind of wondering now if that was a coincidence.
As for vocals, I’m kind of impressed by the range of this one. The verses are really quite low, for this group, and I was impressed/surprised that Louis actually managed those bottom notes. Almost I suspect an engineering tweak, because historically he hasn’t been all that comfortable with that lower register - his voice is high enough that he hasn’t needed to figure out how to navigate his falsetto (to the point where I’m only convinced he even has a falsetto because that is how the human adult male voice is built, not because I have any direct proof of its existence), so forgive me for being skeptical. Like, either it’s pitch-shifted or they got him to record first thing in the morning, is what I think. I’d like to hear this live, honestly. If he really has got the bottom end nailed down comfortably, hell yes I want to hear it.
Also, Harry in the chorus. That is all.
No, that is not all. You hear him sing “I’m sorry if I say I need you / but I don’t care, I’m not scared of love” and you totally believe it. And then you think of the fact that Louis wrote those words, Louis with his perpetual sorry-not-sorry attitude, who, even when he’s being deadly honest, is still a sarcastic shit with this defiant non-apology. “‘Cause when I’m not with you I’m weaker / is that so wrong? Is it so wrong / that you make me strong?” I have too many feelings to write coherently about the defensive self-deprecation that is Louis’ trademark and that I never dared to hope would be translated into a song like this. I just. THIS BOY.