Dark Light

Released: 2011

Kimbra’s “Something in the Way You Are” is a deep dive into the magnetic pull of a compelling relationship. She’s singing about the irresistible draw she feels toward someone, an attraction that’s as mysterious as it is powerful. The song captures the intimate dance of getting to know someone beyond the surface, the nuances that make them uniquely captivating.

The song opens with an image of awakening—Kimbra is brought out of her “slumber” by an unseen force, painting a picture of someone who has piqued her interest to the point of jolting her into a heightened state of awareness. The “broken light” symbolizes a sense of imperfection, suggesting that this fascination occurs despite, or perhaps because of, flaws and vulnerabilities. The “shadowed by the placid moon” line adds a touch of romance and mystery, indicating that her observations are taking place in a quiet, intimate environment.

When Kimbra speaks about feeling something in her bones, she’s talking about an instinctual, deep-seated reaction that is beyond intellectual understanding or control. It’s her gut speaking louder than her mind, recognizing an unnamed quality that is both elusive and enchanting. This person’s actions, from lying to slamming the door, somehow leave Kimbra captivated and wanting more, highlighting the complexity of emotions in human connections—how even the less appealing behaviors can be oddly attractive.

She dives further into her thoughts by reflecting on this person’s past, wondering about their childhood and whether they were “misunderstood.” This isn’t just a surface level infatuation; she’s invested in the full breadth of their humanity, eager to understand their history and what makes them tick. The line “I love all of the sticks and stones” remarkably turns the old adage on its head—instead of words hurting less than physical pain, here, every word from her subject, no matter how potentially painful, is something she treasures. It’s about being vulnerable and open to the raw, sometimes painful interactions that draw people closer.

The chorus reiterates the mysterious qualities of her interest, highlighting the mundane (smiling, making jokes) to the more intense (“when you raise your voice”). It’s not just their actions, but the essence of this person that captivates her—“something in the way you are” suggests a fascination with their very being, their spirit or vibe, which transcends words or explanations.

In the stanza with “You’re my (favorite) pastime,” Kimbra emphasizes the comfort and joy she finds in just being in this person’s presence. The ‘passing by’ signals a desire for even the smallest moments of interaction. It’s a declaration of her preference for this person’s company over other diversions or entertainments in her life.

Throughout “Something in the Way You Are,” Kimbra encapsulates the all-consuming, often inexplicable nature of attraction. The song moves from a contemplation on the involuntary nature of this pull to an appreciation of its every facet, even when it leaves her wanting. In essence, the lyrics are a testament to the profound impact that one person can have over another, highlighting the often paradoxical ways in which affection and attachment manifest.

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