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Released: 2021

“Be Sweet” by Japanese Breakfast (AKA Michelle Zauner) is a juicy sonic cocktail of yearning and hope, layered with the melancholy of a relationship that’s perhaps teetered off its course. Its lyrics revolve around the desire for a partner to make amends, demanding sweetness and articulating an appetite for belief—not just in the relationship, but also in something larger, a meta sense of belief in life and love itself.

The first verse of the song sets the stage by using emotive language to describe feelings of heartache and abandonment. “Tell the men I’m coming / Tell them count the days / I can feel the night passing by like a mistake waiting for me” can be seen as a call to arms. The protagonist is journeying, not just physically but emotionally, through the murky abyss of a troubled love-life, represented by the ‘night’. The ‘mistake waiting for her’ may symbolize a relationship that feels full of errors, yet she’s still compelled to navigate through.

Interpreting the chorus, “Make it up to me, you know it’s better / Be sweet to me, baby / I wanna believe in you / I wanna believe”, paints a vivid picture of the protagonist’s longing for her partner to rectify their wrongs. The repetition of ‘be sweet’ underscores the yearning for affection and sincerity that’s currently missing. This refrain isn’t just about sugarcoated words; it’s a demand for genuine positive action, a return to a time when love wasn’t so complex.

The line “So come and get your woman / pacify her rage” depicts a plea for the partner to soothe the protagonist’s wrath, which has been heated by past mistakes and broken trust. The ‘undo your lies’ part is a desperate cry for transparency and truth, inferring that the partner needs to shed their deceptive ways.

The lines “Recognize your mistakes and I’ll let you back in / Realize not too late, love you always” evoke a sense of magnanimity, signaling a readiness to forgive as long as there’s acknowledgement of mistakes—a prerequisite to being let back ‘in’ emotionally.

Overall, “Be Sweet” is an anthem of redemption filled with palpable yearning, bold demands, and an abiding belief for better times. Its lyrics capture the nuanced emotional landscape of a desire not just for a partner’s transformation, but also a personal quest for belief—in the relationship, the partner, and, ultimately, in love.

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