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Meaning of ‘Boyish’ by ‘Japanese Breakfast’

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Released: 2017

“Boyish” by Japanese Breakfast is an emotionally potent pop track, sprinkled with wounds of unfulfilled desires and fading relationships. Michelle Zauner, the mastermind behind Japanese Breakfast, doesn’t shy away from revealing her vulnerability, making us navigate the tumultuous waters of love and self-doubt.

The opening lines, “Your boyish reassurance is not reassuring”, are a raw confession of insecurity, essentially saying, “Your attempts to comfort me aren’t working.” It’s a narrative about unbalanced affection. When she sings, “if you go to her, don’t expect to come home to me,”, it’s a boundary line being drawn, a protective guard against further heartbreak.

The chorus, “I can’t get you off my mind, I can’t get you off in general”, demonstrates the emotional hold her partner’s had on her, despite all the unmet expectations. The line, “so here we are, we’re just two losers”, underlines the realization that their relationship might be a lost cause.

The last verse delivers a gut-punch with its raw honesty, “if you don’t like how I look, then leave,”, and “you can’t get yours off the hostess”, alluding to the partner’s distracted attention. The song hints at the issues of self-image and desire for validation borne out of an unequal love, which leaves the protagonist pleading, “Love me, love me.”

“Boyish” is a poignant look at the darker side of love, peppering its narrative with a bleak reality that strikes right at the heart.

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