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Released: 2017

At its core, Clairo’s “Flaming Hot Cheetos” paints a vivid picture of youthful romantic confusion, straddling the line between platonic and romantic relationships. It magnifies the complexities of undefined relationships, underlined by a desire for connection and recognition, all draped in the nostalgic veneer of the “old days.” At the same time, the lyrics exude a sense of in-the-moment excitement, a kind of raw vitality that makes our hearts dance to the pop beat.

Starting with “Sometimes I feel like I just wanna go back to my old ways”, Clairo signals a longing for simpler times—a time before relationship labels and the complications that come with them. When she sings, “I’m such a romantic, I never remember how things really happened”, she’s navigating the murky waters between romantic idealization and real-life experiences. The line “I guess you’re attractive or something” manifests as a lucid realization of the other’s appeal, punctuated with a casual, youthful indifference.

Through the lyrics “Girlfriend or girl that’s a friend? It’s easy just to pretend, that we don’t have something real, it’s just how we feel,” Clairo breaks down a universal pop music trope—the complicated dynamics of ‘just friends’ or potentially ‘something more’. She’s expressing the intricate dance of connection and disconnection, an orchestrated waltz of hidden feelings and unsaid words.

When she repeats “I’m feeling something right”, she’s affirming her emotions, giving herself and us, her listeners, permission to embrace these undefined feelings. It’s a classic pop contradiction, where repeated affirmations become a quest for self-reassurance.

In the final part of the song, when Clairo sings “I wanna be the one you think about at night,” she’s not just hinting about physically being a part of someone’s life, but to etch herself into their minds, becoming an integral part of their memories. The audacious confession “I’d buy you anything and everything I can’t afford” lays bare a poignant truth about young love and its tendency to promise the world, even when reality contradicts it.

In conclusion, “Flaming Hot Cheetos” taps into the zeitgeist of youthful infatuation, exploring the complexities of emerging relationships muddled by unspoken affections. From the tension between past and present relationships to the deep-seated desire for connection, Clairo encapsulates it all into a poignant pop symphony.

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