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Big Fat Lie: Two Years LatertheOpinionatedOne I listened to this album for the first time almost two years ago now (it's November 2016.) I was listening to albums I wanted to review from the perspective of a would-be music critic. I was very analytical. I now listen to albums more wholeheartedly, I listen with a fuller scope of what's going on. I try to appreciate an album for its content more than which songs are good/bad. At the time, I wasn't particularly fond of the production on most of Big Fat Lie. That too has changed, now I think it's one of the most intriguing listens in recent pop music I've heard when you pay attention to the production.
But I've come back to this album now, A MUCH DIFFERENT PERSON. Two years ago, I was still in the closet. I wasn't ready to accept myself and I had no experience with romantic love at any level. That's slightly changed now and I'm more open as well. I'm more open to experience my own feelings and express them. In my current state of mind, this album has become one of those records that speaks to me on various personal levels. Even the dark, woozy production of the record that I didn't care for at first now resonates with me emotionally. But it's the way that Nicole sings on most of these songs that gives voice to my own feelings about my current and recently past life. That is, she does not take full advantage of her incredible range and power to sing most of these songs. That would be awkward if she did because it's a very personal, VULNERABLE record. Even though she only wrote on the title track, you can feel the sincerity of her emotions when you hear her sing. The brooding synth washes that provide the atmosphere on most songs accurately depict my own dark/bleak frame of mind. I feel weak. I feel lovelorn. I feel unprecedented vulnerability. I feel bitterness toward certain people. I feel desperate. I feel scared. I feel lonely. And this album speaks to all of those feelings. So here are my commentaries on each song from the standard edition and how it connects to me and fits within the album. Brief comments on the deluxe edition songs.
1. "Your Love"
- I didn't like this at first but the danceable rhythm eventually hooked me. This one is a bit harder for me to connect to, but not impossible. This is the way I fantasize about when I finally do meet a boy and fall in love with him. But it also has a bit of a blind hopefulness that carries onto the next song. It's slightly disconnected from the album itself but I interpret it as being a fantasy that she begins to become disillusioned about on the next song.
2. "Electric Blue"
-This was one of my favorites initially. As a person who spent a long time in the closet, this is the way you feel when you're newly an out person. You want that boyfriend/girlfriend you never had and never expressed your desire for up until that point. And now that you're out, you're desperate for it. You get blindly hopeful when you find you're first romantic interest..."It's amazing what we could be." And you become fixated on it. I interpret this as the 'beginning of the end' in the context of the album, where Nicole begins to wake up from the illusion of "Your Love."
3. "On the Rocks"
- I don't particularly connect to the theme of a breakup however, I definitely connect to the the desire to numb the pain when reality hits. For Nicole, this reality was a deteriorating relationship. For me, it could be one of many realities I'd rather escape. I connect to the literal meaning, that desire to just drown your pain away with a stiff drink. I've never actually done this, but sometimes it's tempting. Here is where the mood of the album begins to take form as Nicole plunges into the heartbreak head first.
-Oh. My. Gaaawd!!! I loooooove the moodiness of this song! This music is how I feel. The indecision of the person you're with or trying to build something with...I have been in that position too many times to recall. You get to the point of just feeling like "Break my heart already so I can move on!" I feel like this is the sequel to "Killer Love" both in lyrics and music. But on the album, this could fit in a few places sequentially. It could be after the breakup, or it could be before the breakup.
5. "God of War"
-This is the point when you've just broken up. Sequentially, this song follows "On the Rocks" in its lyrical content. The album is a bit disjointed in its sequence (as per my interpretations) but it doesn't make me enjoy it any less. This song represents pure anger and frustration. You're glad that they're gone, but you miss them like hell and you're frustrated that you put so much time into it and it ended anyway and then you're depressed and lonely. This one I actually relate to...my Dad. That's a long story and one that I have yet to iron out all the details.
6. "Girl with a Diamond Heart"
-This is one that I don't much connect to actually but I still feel like I do because of Nicole's passionate delivery. This is actually one of my favorites, mainly because of her vocals. I guess if I stretch it, this sort of embodies that feeling of bitterness in both me and in Nicole. Also that a lot of people just aren't strong enough to handle me emotionally. My heart has hardened but only wants to be melted.
7. "Just a Girl"
-Obviously there's a rather apparent reason this one is difficult for me to relate to. This is something I'd put in between the slightly optimistic "Electric Blue" and "On the Rocks" in terms of narrative. This one is my least favorite so I don't have much to say about it.
8. "First Time
-This one is a bit challenging to interpret. My connection to it is the hook. "I want to feel like I've loved for the very first time." I've spent an unhealthy amount of time pursuing this 'first time' love to no avail. It becomes a fixation when you're helplessly lonely. I interpret this as Nicole searching for someone to fill the emptiness she feels inside post breakup. The yearning for companionship that's lacking in one's life. That's what this song is about for me.
-This one is me when I'm at my worst. So desperate, lonely, and horny that I'm ready to do "regrettable things" with complete strangers. When nothing else is going for me, I get hypersexual. It's not a good thing, I don't endorse this AT ALL. Sex should be something reserved for people who are in love. I'm not totally sure whether this is meant to be a booty call, a memory or a casual fling with a stranger. Any way you slice it, this song is a dark, desperate point which is accentuated perfectly by the slow rumbling beat and Nicole's airy vocals that convey the weak and vulnerable state of mind she's in and perfectly relates to my own as of recently.
10. "Big Fat Lie"
-THIS IS PERFECTION! This would have made a much better single than "Bang" in my opinion. I relate to this song so deeply. Oddly enough, I felt a strong connection to this one even before I came out. I tried to avoid thinking about my sexuality then so it didn't dawn on me exactly why this one hit so close to home until this year. That's what led me to revisit the album. It's just that notion that appearances can be deceiving. Don't assume you know somebody as well as you think. Nobody knew just how unhappy I was then because I lived a Big Fat Lie for 6 years from the first time I knew I was attracted to guys. It's a powerful declaration of Nicole's true state of mind, being the only song co-written by her on the album and all the better for it.
-I'll be totally honest, this was and is my favorite from the album. My connection to it now is actually quite straightforward. I thought I found a good guy awhile back and he turned out to be the BEST MISTAKE I NEVER MADE. I was naive and he was a cunning manipulator. I'm just glad I came to my senses before I made a wrong move. That experience has made me stronger as a person in that I know I deserve someone better, even though I still have moments of weakness. It's just a very beautiful song and a fitting close to the standard edition of the album. The resolve of it being over and passing on the warning to the next person who starts to fall for him. It signifies Nicole being resigned to the end and ready to move on.
The process of moving on is what she details on the songs from the deluxe edition.
12. "Little Boy"
-Nicole rises again and with a new sense of calm, she sings that she will one day find the right man, and that her ex was not the one.
-She recalls the relationship but no longer laments about it. She just remembers and invites the ex to join her and "sing it in Unison."
14. "Cold World"
-This one represents her newfound ambivalence toward the past relationship. It no longer affects her and she regains her attitude from before.
BUT THAT'S IT!!! That's my take on this album from the perspective of being two years older than when I first heard it. Meanings change as you change. It gives you a greater appreciation for something you overlooked in the past. I never anticipated how much I'd come to love this album, for sure!