Heart Eyes – Unassuming
Anxiety may be compared with dizziness. He whose eye happens to look down the yawning abyss becomes dizzy… Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and freedom looks down into its own possibility, laying hold of finiteness to support itself. Freedom succumbs to dizziness. — Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety
I am terribly afraid of driving over high bridges. I don’t fear the height or the water below or the imminent collapse of the structure. I fear that I will give in to the impulse to twist the wheel and careen through the railing and into the unbounded freedom of the Great Wide Open. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton Rouge has been a source of especial terror on several occasions.
Today our world is bounded by the social guardrails of a lockdown as we pass over the abyss of a pathogen’s pandemic. But I don’t fear that I will suddenly race through the threshold and begin exchanging slobbering expostulations with my next-door neighbor. Rather, I fear the social ridicule that will result from imperfect isolation. I don’t want to be That Guy, the one who shuns all human contact only to invite the invader into his home on a bag of Amazon-delivered cat litter.
‘Unassuming,’ by Heart Eyes, portrays with sparse brush strokes a new flavor of fear that has entered their life, an anxiety that has pried open long-locked closets to reveal a missing back wall and a pleasantly beckoning firmament.
don’t be so sad now,
he always loved leaving
never looking back, just leaving
more space for the reverb
The track eases to life with gently-plucked guitar strings and alternating chords underlain by minimal rhythms. The melody’s atonality yields the anxiety that results from unexpected notes in expected places. ‘Unassuming’ passes into the ether without lingering over a chorus or bridge.
Heart Eyes is Ryan Underwood of Richmond, Virginia. They describe ‘Unassuming’ as a blend of my usual lo-fi ambience with bedroom pop songwriting… and how having just a couple things go wrong can sometimes make my mind jump to extremely unsafe places.