Song Review: It’s Not About Me by Strawberry Moon
Grappling with self-doubt in today’s age is such a tricky balancing act. In some ways, it can be healthy, encouraging self-reflection and personal growth. Other times, it can be downright crippling, preventing someone from making hard choices and necessary changes in their lives. At its most extreme though, self-doubt can lead to something unintended, a permanent fixation on one’s shortcomings that leads to self-obsession and even selfishness, seizing moments away from others who serve important parts in our stories and the larger picture. Reading that sentence can be a harsh wake-up call for some people, but if you need some help swallowing the bitter pill, look no further than “It’s Not About Me,” the latest single from Strawberry Moon.
A punk rock analysis of the modern human psyche, this latest single zeroes in on the fascinating sound from the explosive group, which has recently grown from a bellowing quartet to a dynamic quintet. Their 2022 record, Habitual Creatures, was a record built on visceral grooves and piercing melodies that stir the soul long before the brain is clued in. Their follow-up single, “Down In The Dirt,” kept that package intact while branching into a full punk sound, melding their tense dynamics with ingenious lyricism that elevates a song from memorable to indelible. On “It’s Not About Me,” Strawberry Moon continues to expand their talent with a song that burrows into the nitty-gritty details of human interactions, offering a relatable story that quickly turns into a dissection on selfish fixation.
“I wanna come home from the party\ Skip the alterations of what I’ve said,” vocalist Katie Bowels begins over a bobbing bass line that brings melodic charm to shaky insecurities. After wondering how others can be so comfortable with making new connections, the obsession begins, recalling perceived gaffes and slights that somehow justify aloofness from someone else. We’ve all been there — spiraling into a frenzy while recalling a night out with every flaw highlighted within our memory. Luckily, the band ends the descent before it gains momentum as they roar into the chorus with clarity and reason (“Or maybe you’ve got your own stuff\ Maybe it’s not about me \ Maybe you’ve got your own stuff\ It’s not about me”). The shift is jarring at first, but exactly what’s needed to kick someone out of a daze of anxiety and apprehension, making the song’s contrast of bouncy melody and blunt reality all the more effective.
Lyrically, Strawberry Moon is at its best here. The verses are painfully redolent as they capture that restless pause between connections that poison the well before anyone can drink from it. But it’s the chorus that really seals the deal with curt scorn that’s delivered with concise conviction. Of course, the band is there to bolster that conviction, capturing the flighty feeling of new connection within the verses while also embodying the rage and disgust of the chorus’ realization. Top to bottom, it’s a profound package from the band that helps explore the broader implications of an annoying common occurrence.
In 2015, cerebral band Hop Along released “Waitress,” one of the year’s absolute best songs, that used their storytelling approach to songwriting to relate the feeling of being small and powerless due to humiliation and hostility. It was easy to empathize with the titular server trapped in a restaurant with someone who’s filled with justified disgust and contempt, but for the more inattentive listener, that scenario may not have hit home due to the detailed scene coming with ambiguous context. “It’s Not About Me” follows a similar trajectory, offering a scenario that might point to an outward antagonist before the mirror is turned back around on the narrator. Strawberry Moon takes it further though, resulting in a song that’s much more resonant in the bigger picture. Instead of being empathic, the song becomes trenchant. Instead of being vague, the song becomes exact. Most importantly though, instead of being a dreadful situation that yields disassociation and suppression, the song becomes more about hope and self-improvement, making sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Therein lies the brilliance of “It’s Not About Me,” a song that serves as both a powerful commentary on degrading fixation and a cautionary tale on selfish reflection through its sharp lyricism and compelling musicianship. Keep this one in mind next time you’re lying in bed late at night replaying the events of a party back in your head. Just remember that it’s not always about you and try to get some sleep.
“It’s Not About Me” is available on all streaming platforms now. For more information on Strawberry Moon, make sure to follow them on social media by clicking this link.
Don’t miss Strawberry Moon at The Auricular‘s 5th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, September 23rd at Richmond Music Hall alongside Drook, Rikki Rakki, and Hotspit. You can purchase tickets by clicking here, or find more information via the show flyer below.