A clock ticks on the wall, a knife spins in the dark
Some initial thoughts on “Let Me” by The Drums
Below are my opinions and an attempted deconstruction of the music
- I love how musically it brings in elements from the leading track Magic Mountain in the beginning of the song. Purposefully so, to create that “safe place” that is a central theme in MM.
- Each verse is introduced like a spell narrating clocks ticking, knives spinning in the dark, and people being awaken for the first time (presumably as their authentic selves)
- Jonny is talking directly to his queer audience throughout Let Me and encourages us to be our true selves in this safe space that he has created in the music. During the chorus, despite socio-political realities of everyday life, he urges “Let me. Let me see who you are,”
- Each of the verses introduce different members of the audience listening as they transform and open their eyes for the first time. A transgender individual ”He’s closing his eyes for the last time, he’s going to be her” and later a lesbian “A clock ticks on the wall, she loves another girl. She opens her eyes for the first time she’s going to love her” are the featured audience members in Let Me. If you notice Jonny is able to complete the “spell” or transformation between the first and second verse. While “he’s closing his eyes for the first time” in the first verse, the other audience member “opens her eyes for the first time” in the second. There is a definite feeling that we collectively are being changed with the music and opening our eyes.
- Following each verse after being “awoken” and “transformed”, Jonny assures us “And they might hate you, but I love you. And they can go kill themselves.” Undeniably vulnerable as our authentic selves, Jonny is able to reach out and offer his love to those listening despite the rebuke (and danger) society may pose.
- The last line “And they can go kill themselves” is by far the strongest statements I’ve heard in a song by The Drums, but I have a feeling that it is to implore us not to harm to the self and demonstrates an alliance with the audience over those who condemn and oppress LGBTQ peoples. Jonny is, above all else, concerned with the well-being of queer people and he is literally saying “to hell with those who do us harm.”
- The song continues in the chants of “Let me. Let me see who you are” and swirls into a hypnotic symphony of synths as Jonny once again recounts clocks ticking on the wall and knives spinning in the dark.
The only information I remember reading about Let Me from the band was a mention that it was written in the wake of news releases about abuse inflicted on queer people in Russia. Will add more when I have more information or other thoughts.
I welcome your thoughts so please add your input!