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Released: 2020

When Selena Gomez sings “People You Know,” she offers an earnest exploration of the pain and nostalgia that springs from relationship breakdowns, highlighting that it’s not just about losing a lover but also a friend. The song serves as a wounded reflection on how people we once knew can become strangers.

The opening lines “You were running through me like water/Now the feeling’s leaving me dry” sets the stage for an evocative journey through heartbreak. As Selena describes it, the person she used to feel intensely for, whose presence was as essential as water, has evaporated, leaving her emotionally parched.

When she sings, “These days we couldn’t be farther/So how’s it feel to be on the other side?” there’s a sense of distance that’s grown between them, that they’ve transitioned from a united front into two separate entities. Her querying note reveals her struggle to understand how the other person might be experiencing this change.

Through the repetitive chorus “We used to be close, but people can go/From people you know to people you don’t/And what hurts the most is people can go/From people you know to people you don’t,” Selena drives home the crux of her heartache. The notion of someone you used to know intimately transforming into a stranger is a universal experience in the aftermath of a relationship.

Her references to “so many wasted nights” and the assertion “I still can taste it, I hate it” adds an element of regret, symbolising the bitterness that often accompanies the end of a relationship. Yet, Selena also showcases her longing for the past as she admits “I wish I could take it back,” suggesting that despite the pain, she misses the connection they once had.

The lines “When it was good, we were on fire/Now I’m breathing ashes and dust” shift the tone to one of nostalgia. She laments the intensity of their love, once burning fervently, and now reduced to ashes and dust, a poignant metaphor for the remnants of their relationship.

“People You Know” is a testimony to the transient nature of relationships and the profound impact it has on our lives. Selena Gomez’s bittersweet lament captures the essence of a universal experience, reminding us that the person who used to be ‘your person’ can become just another stranger in the crowd.

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