A voluntary headache, “Couldn’t” is the mistake you love to make. Always faced with the same outcome but never wanting to snap out of the pattern, it’s the frustration you don’t mind putting up with. The follow up to “Country Song,” Joy Again continues to wear their heart on their sleeve even when they don’t find the reception they’re looking for. Taken from their upcoming album Piano, the song is a lesson you can’t learn no matter how many times you have to face the consequences. 

Completely wrapped around someone’s finger, “Couldn’t” is all the things you can’t stop yourself from doing. Admitting ‘how could I even trust that you need me to/of course at first it’s my mistake/and it made us ache/but we still came out the same,’ it is the sacrifice that goes unnoticed but you make anyways. The punchy precision and raw acoustic guitar coupled with the loose doo-doo’s, gives it the same ambivalence that comes with giving up - building to a breaking point just to circle back. Sheepishly confessing ‘you’re gone but I think about you nightly/I hope you can stay and still be happy,’ there’s still this undeniable love where you know that if they asked you to, you’d do it all over again. The override that makes you come back around every time they get knocked down, because above all you just want them to be happy. 

Capturing that awkward in between stage of learning how to let go of someone and still hanging around in case they change their mind, it's shaky ground you’d spend forever learning to balance on. Almost out of breath and needing to double check just how deep you’re in, “Couldn’t” is the unrequited love that keeps you trying no matter what. Banged up and strung out, it is all the things you give up for someone who is completely oblivious. The person who you would do anything for even if they don’t belong to you. A love that makes no sense but you can’t help getting wrapped up in. 


samantha sullivan