Single Review: Elastica “Connection”

Connection
Album: Elastica
Year: 1994

Justine Frischmann struggles to understand people’s spitefulness towards others in the ambigious “Connection.”

A guitar fades in and out then disappears into a keyboard. The keyboard blips as though it were transmitting code. Drums are tapped softly in the background. Vocalist Mew gnarls as the the instruments join together. The keyboard then plays a few puzzling notes. This is continues for nearly a minute, setting a swanky, aloof tone.

Frischmann, in her commanding vocals, supports her friend at first. The person has come out to their family. But their family believes it’s just a phase and the friend is doing it for attention. However, her friend is going to continue dating whomever. (“riding on any wave/there is the luck you crave/they don’t believe it now/they just think it’s stupid/so got anything/anyone could have done/who would’ve cared at all not you”).

Frischmann notes that her friend has found someone. But she’s confused as to how someone could be cruel. But she shrugs it off as part of being in a relationship. (“another heart has made the trade/forget it forget it forget it/I don’t understand how a heart is a spade/but somehow the vital connection is made”). The guitars riff wildly and drums thrash in the background. However, at the end of the section, the music is nonexistent as she says “but somehow the vital connection is made.”

Just as quickly as the music quiets down, it comes back even more intense for the second verse. Frischmann thinks her friend is not particulary choosy about their dates. She sneers at her friend’s lack of class. Her friend has been ridiculed and ostracized from the family. The family was sneaky and manipulative, as they let Frischmann rejoin their group. She snubs the family’s hypocrisy. (“riding on anything/anything’s good enough/who would’ve thought it of someone like you/just as they brought me round/now that they brought you down/roundabout and roundabout/who wants a life anyway”).

She comments that she’s meets the family’s standards. However, she’s lost and really doesn’t know how relationship politics. But she managed to say the right things. (“another heart has made the grade/forget it forget it forget it/I don’t understand how the last card is played/but somehow the vital connection is made”).

The opening instrumentation starts again. Handclaps (according to the Elastica Connection webpage, from The Cars’ “Let Go”) and pounding drums close the single.

The cavalier, mysterious “Connection” is vague, as it can be about anything. My intrepretation changed with each listen, making for at least several lead changes in the first paragraph. However, the simplicity in both lyrics and music give the single its character. It’s also incredibly short, clocking it in at 2 minutes, 20 seconds. But the shortness is where the single getes its intensity. An extra chorus would’ve ruined the single, given how tightly it’s timed.

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