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Released: 2021Tove Styrke’s “Start Walking” is a cathartic anthem of emancipation, set to a pulsating pop beat. It’s a narrative about recognizing a dead-end relationship and mustering the courage to let go, even when every instinct might be screaming to hold on. This track encapsulates the tension between comfort in the known and the daunting prospect of change.

The opening lines lay down the groundwork of a relationship that’s grown too familiar, posing a rhetorical question that suggests the excitement has faded. Styrke offers a jarring proposal: imagine if they were strangers instead of intimate partners. There’s a suggestion that sometimes the spark is brighter when relationships are fresh, an ironic twist on the idea that intimacy should grow deeper with time.

As the song’s narrative unfolds, we hit this idea of being “scary good at lettin’ each other down.” It’s a sharp critique on the patterns couples fall into, becoming experts in pressing each other’s buttons and perpetually disappointing one another. Styrke then plays with imagery of liberation by using the metaphor of “cut[ting] the chains,” implying that the relationship is confining and suggesting that ending it might actually be a mercy—a hard truth no one wants to face.

The chorus, which is usually the emotional climax of the song, introduces this tension of knowing what needs to be done without having the guts to do it. “Say the words, no one wants to say the words”, she repeats, referring to the painful but necessary conversation about ending the relationship. It’s a universal experience; knowing you’re holding onto emptiness, but the silence persists because the reality of saying goodbye is too painful to confront.

Moving through the song, Styrke contemplates an alternate reality where they wake up in separate lives—”different worlds”—and she muses about the possibility of preferring that existence. It’s a profound acknowledgment that sometimes love isn’t enough to make a partnership work. She’s not afraid of being alone, but rather of wasting her life in a relationship that’s become toxic, a potent reminder that it’s not solitude that’s scary but rather the feeling of being stuck.

Throughout “Start Walking,” Styrke years for closure and resolution, as she repeats the pre-chorus and chorus, amplifying the urgency to face the inevitable. This repetition serves to beat the message home: the time for talking has passed, and what’s needed is action—even if it’s painful. The act of walking away, depicted across the bridge and outro, becomes the song’s defining moment—a statement of self-preservation and strength.

The simplicity in the outro where she states, “I don’t wanna hurt you, Don’t wanna hurt you, But somebody’s got to” is another stroke of honesty. It cuts to the heart of the dilemma: no one wants to be the executioner of a once-cherished relationship, but prolonging the inevitable is its own kind of cruelty. The repetitive “walkin'” signifies the steps away from what once was, towards individual growth and self-healing—a necessary journey following the end of a shared path.

Tove Styrke’s “Start Walking” isn’t just a pop track; it’s a modern-day ballad of release. It encapsulates the struggle between the heart and the mind in matters of fading love, and ultimately serves as a reminder that sometimes the toughest decisions are the ones that lead us to true freedom.

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