Best of the Rest: Sy Smith’s Distance

Sysmith2 I love songs that have a subtext that reveals itself after a couple of listens. It makes multiple listens that much more enjoyable.

Sy Smith’s Distance is one of these songs.  On the first few listens, you think the song is about sexual desire, longing, separation.  But the more you listen to the song, you realize it’s really about guilt.  You hear it in the way Sy sings the verse and how she calls him “darling” and “sweetness.”

But you hear it most clearly in the couplet that ends each verse:

Cause I have needs
And no discipline

The way she sings it is the key to the entire song.  She rushes it.

Right there we know what’s really going on.  It’s no accident, then, that the song is essentially a vamp from here on out.  Sy is desperately, futily, trying to blame “distance.”

From construction to execution, Distance captures an aspect of guilt – misdirection, deflection – in a way I don’t think I’ve heard before. And it is compelling.

More:
Best of the Rest – Full List
Best of the Rest – Explained

About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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