Flyte’s ‘This Is Really Going To Hurt’ really does hurt

Flyte

This Is Really Going To Hurt

Island · April 9, 2021


After moving base from London to LA, Flyte have returned with an album that excels in portraying quiet heartbreak. This Is Really Going To Hurt puts much of its focus on the idea of the end of a long-term relationship. The depth of this subject matter is conveyed with hard-hitting accuracy through use of clever lyrics and gentle but moving vocals. Although the words being sung take center stage most of the time, the album also includes meticulously chosen instrumentation. There can be no doubt that Flyte paid careful attention to the arrangement of the songs on the album and how they all connect to one another. All of these components, from lyrics to chronology, allow This Is Really Going To Hurt to live up to its name.

From the start, Flyte’s album takes an approach that is distinct from that of a typical piece covering heartbreak. The first song, “Easy Tiger,” warns, “Easy tiger / This is only gonna get worse” and “We’re both survivors / But this is really going to hurt.” While the lyrics seem to be directed towards the person on the other end of the torn relationship, they also serve as a warning for the listener, preparing them for the rest of the album. This clever introduction also takes on a beaten-down tone. The singer acknowledges the little things that hurt him after the end of this relationship, but does this in a manner that is surprisingly mellow. Where many would expect anger or uninhibited misery, Flyte instead offer up the simple feeling of weariness, and this is somehow much more painful and convincing.

The rest of the album follows suit. The lyrics on This Is Really Going To Hurt are so persuasive because they do not sugarcoat the sad truth, nor do they exaggerate the simple sources of heartache. Perhaps the most vulnerable songs are “Losing You” and “Everyone’s A Winner,” and even these songs maintain Flyte’s commitment to speaking plainly. On “Losing You,” the band makes use of imagery and specificity to bring a personal element to the song. For instance, they write “And you were wearing that red dress / When you took him upstairs / The one I bought you in New York / Before you made this mess.” With lines like these, the listener is coaxed into imagining the exact scenario described – whether they can directly relate or not. The format in which seemingly trivial details are juxtaposed with more broad-reaching statements carries through into the emotional nadir of the album: “Everyone’s A Winner.” This song starts each verse with a general, comforting sentence one might find on a wall of inspirational quotes. “Everything is sacred,” they sing, and then go on to list a series of exceptions to the rule. One of the most biting lines comes when “Everything’s forever” is followed by, “Except the friends who must choose / Which one of us they wish to lose.” With their wistful vocals, Flyte succinctly express the feeling that the writer’s life has been ripped apart because it was so thoroughly intertwined with someone else’s. In their understated way, Flyte use lyrics to pull together a story that touches on cynical nostalgia, bitterness, and weary acceptance of the truth.

Still, songs like “Mistress America” might trick listeners into thinking This Is Really Going To Hurt will be a monotonous indie folk album. This song is filled with metallic guitar, the percussion is heavy on high frequencies, and the vocals sound Beatles-esque. While the song is still a lovely dive into a more folk sound, it is definitely for the best that much of the album features some stylistic twists. Apart from portraying the different emotional angles associated with heartache, Flyte use instrumentation to add some variety. For instance, “Easy Tiger” includes a string part that is so subtle as to be barely noticeable in the beginning. However, these strings build up and, while it sounds like a cello section is sawing away at their instruments, a sense of anticipation is created. Similarly, “Under the Skin” builds an exciting air of urgency through a repetitive piano part in the background. On the other hand, the looped vocal sample that fills the background of “Trying To Break Your Heart” creates more of an upbeat atmosphere that allows the self-deprecating lyrics to stand out further. All of these cautiously chosen components ebb away for the last song, where everything is once again stripped to the beautiful vocals and guitar that sit at the core of the album. “Never Get To Heaven” is a wonderfully soft conclusion to the album, both in terms of composition and lyrics. 

Just as the sound of this final song is more minimal, the lyrics are comparatively less bitter. The sorrow that lingers over the album remains, but there is also a sense of sweetness and commitment. The lyrics note that “You’ll never get to heaven in an empty shell,” and offer up “But I’ll be there when you want me to.” The album would not be what it is without this ending. While the rest of the album resides in the sadness of losing a close relationship, “Never Get To Heaven” makes it clear that some love remains at the end of this story. Harmonies are used to emphasize pained lyrics like, “I just wanna shut my eyes / and wash you clean.” And yet, the song is ultimately an offering of comfort: it suggests that, while the ordeal cannot be forgotten, it is not entirely worth forgetting. In order from beginning to end, Flyte’s This Is Really Going To Hurt is a journey of loss and realization after heartbreak.

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