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"I Hope I'm Not Sick" by Loveless

Like the social butterfly that somehow remembers all of the things that you like, TikTok has the ability to connect us with musicians that we have yet to meet, and to styles of music that we had never known that we needed. Gallons of young blood have poured into the body of pop-punk over the last few years, and TikTok has brought the genre's vulnerable, observant lyrical style and explosive instrumentation before the ears of their users yearning for just that. Los Angeleno Loveless' vocalist Julian Comeau first drew a community on the app by dialing up the electricity of pop hits, and then, alongside guitarist Dylan Tirapelli-Jamail, with Loveless' rawly introspective lyrics and polished pop-punk sound.

"I Hope I'm Not Sick" Cover Art

Loveless' latest single "I Hope I'm Not Sick" questions the meaning of normalcy, and offers a companion to anyone grappling with feelings of dysphoria and helplessness, and with the self-destructive antidotes that fleetingly quell such isolating feelings.

The thinking expressed in Comeau's first lines, "Don't even like this / Swear it isn't mine," is familiar for those that struggle with turbulent and even violent internal lives - when stigmatized thoughts and moods arise, the wish to be somebody that was unaffected - not just for oneself, but to not be a burden - chases after like a twin flame. In the first verse, Tirapelli-Jamail's guitar is deep and contemplative, and the drums are soft and stirring to mirror the longing and spectral quality of Comeau's voice. As Comeau's voice grows into a frantic and fearful scream on the single's searching chorus, "I hope I'm not sick / I dream in broken promises," Tirapelli-Jamail's guitar intensely roars, and the drums pound and crash to mirror the dire and heart-wrenching vocals. The chorus' haunting last line is pleaded atop a sparse and lonely soundscape: "I wish that I could let me win." Comeau enunciates in the second chorus how the war zone of his mind has spawned a sense of disembodiment as if his body did not belong to him and he was severed from any life force: "Caught, got me cut off / From the life in my veins now." In the single's bridge, the singer wrestles with reclaiming the feeling of normalcy with the aid of mind-altering substances: "I'll take anything I can get / 'Cause it's not safe / In the back of my head... / Get me off, I feel like crashing." Comeau's voice is raw, aching, even bloody-sounding as he shouts out the verse's lines. Tirapelli-Jamail's guitar crunches and sputters, and the drums fall hard and fast - all to express the unbearable need for a remedy that draws someone to partake in substances that can harm their physical health. Then, softly, like a begging of oneself, Comeau speaks, "But I hope I'm not sick." In the wake of confiding in illicit substances and struggling to take control of discordant mental and emotional states, the singer wishes that he is not damaged or faulty. A fragile plea that many who can relate to his battles have likely also thought to themselves. Until the single's closing, the chorus, "I hope I'm not sick / I dream in broken promises / That start to set in. / I wish that I could let me win," repeats, the guitar ceaselessly wailing and the drums frantically pounding; no matter how Comeau tries to quell his destructive thoughts and feelings, he finds it impossible to escape them. The instruments backing his voice simulate this notion of never-ending. The single's final lines, "How I wish that I could let me win / (I'll take anything I can get)," have a surface of defeat and hopelessness, but to a listener that copes with a calamitous internal life, they feel therapeutic - they testify to the difficulty of overcoming destructive moods and headspaces. They embody the longing to feel alright, no matter what one must turn to acquire that peace. They swear that the listener is not alone.

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