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Meaning of ‘Big Time Nothing’ by ‘St. Vincent’

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Released: 2024

At a glance, “Big Time Nothing” by St. Vincent seems to touch on the themes of societal expectations, introspection, and the struggle with one’s inner self. St. Vincent is a master at exploring the complex intersection of reality and illusion, and this track is certainly no exception.

The opening lines, “Don’t blink, don’t wait, don’t walk, you’re late / Don’t fall from grace, behave,” give off the feeling of being rushed and demand perfection. These lines are a nod to societal expectations that push us to constantly be on the clock, hustling, and conforming. The repetition of ‘don’t’ creates a litany of reminiscent of how society often dictate our behavior.

She then sings “Don’t trip, sashay / Okay, sashay”. The word ‘sashay’ – borrowed from the drag culture – isn’t a stumble or a fall, but a strut. It’s a clear command to not just survive, but to do so with style, grace, and confidence amid societal pressures.

In the chorus, “Big time nothing / I look inside, I look inside, I look inside (nothing)”, St. Vincent seems to hint at an internal dialogue where the protagonist is looking for solace, meaning, or validation within themselves, but finds ‘nothing’

As we move forward, the verse “Don’t show, don’t flake, go hard, debase / Don’t make a dishonest mistake / Don’t be so sure / I need a cure / One more score,” seems to provide commentary on our constant craving for achievement and perfection, and the exhaustion that comes with it. Here ‘debase’ could imply the diminishment of one’s own worth in striving for societal validation.

Finally, the repetition of “Big time nothing” followed by “I, I, I / I look inside, I look inside, I look inside (nothing)” reinforces the theme of emptiness despite the protagonist’s attempts to be all that the world wants them to be. It mirrors the sense of disillusionment and the void that society’s expectations often leave in us.

St. Vincent’s “Big Time Nothing” is a poetic, profound exploration of societal pressures, self-struggle, and the quest for identity. It’s an anthem for anyone who has ever felt the weight of society’s expectations and battled inner emptiness, rendered in her signature artful language.

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