Welcome to our first “Versus” feature, where two of our writers go head-to-head in discussion of the lyrical content of your favorite songs! 


 

Twin Shadow made waves with his 2010 debut Forget, captivating fans and critics with somber, sleek, and sexy songs that can only be described as ‘grooves’. He recently released the first single from his upcoming Confess.

Check out Matt vs. Jess on “Five Seconds” below.


Matt

Look at that picture right there. Look at it. That man is going to have sex with you. Or someone like you. Those eyes, that hair – that’s just who this man is. But there’s something lost when sex is expected, of course. And that something is what “Five Seconds” captures.

Five seconds to your heart
Straight to your heart
I can’t get to your heart

This isn’t a love song. It’s the impossibility of love overtaken by lust. “When it comes it sounds like – ” Twin Shadow sings, leaving a pregnant moment of silence before concluding “and when it comes we kiss.” He’s turned sex into something that just happens, something without feeling or depth. It’s a desperate dance-floor attempt to reach someone that he probably doesn’t even like. The awkward silence in that pause leaves him no option but the one that comes naturally. But of course, when that happens, sex is lost too:

That’s no way to get it on


Jess

Sex may well be the initial stimulus behind “Five Seconds” (“She said five seconds and you’re high”) but things soon take an unexpected turn. Suddenly, emotions swell beyond physical desire, and beating hearts become unwittingly entangled in what was meant to be no-commitment-copulation. This was not what the narrator intended when he initially undressed his one night stand:

I don’t believe in you
You don’t believe in me
So how could you make me cry?

Things step up a level when we learn the narrator’s love is unrequited. This is nothing but a physical pursuit for his female partner, as seen in the following line, delivered with ultimate frustration:

I can’t get to your heart

So, unlike Matt, I do consider this to be a love song, albeit a rather warped one! It is not the (seemingly smitten) man, but the woman who asserts there are to be ‘no strings attached’. Therefore, “Five Seconds” arguably sheds a refreshing light on stereotypical assumptions about the role of gender in casual sexual encounters.