The Vicious Cycle: Hope Raney’s “Round and Round”

There should be an ease in ending something ruinous.  There should be a smooth, solid slide away from absurdity, a cool, calculated escape from mania.  Oftentimes, upon the sight of others, we foolishly assume that if in similar dire states, our own souls would arise polished and spotless, completely evading any possibility for victimhood or casualty.  Yet, in truth, it is only once we indeed move within those moments do we realize the complexities lurking behind such removals from romance – only then do we see the vicious cycle that dependency creates, like a wild ouroboros forever swallowing down its own tail.  Between two worlds we seem to exist, knowing what is right for the mind yet allowing the heart to dictate, until, suddenly, the rose-tinted visions of beauty and sweetness fade entirely and we are left no longer entertained by the tortures of love.  Instead, beaten and bruised by ridiculous repetition, we finally submit and obey our desires for peace and harmony, deeply altered, believing it is much wiser to live with clarity than confusion.

Perhaps nowhere more recently is this present than on the R&B futurism of Hope Raney’s “Round and Round.”  Set against a tidal wave of stellar synths and marvelous, thudding bass, the burgeoning Pop creator’s ode to the end of a romance feels cosmic and breathtaking, a splendid parade of tension and drama lurking amidst its ultrachill veneer.  This is further exemplified through Hope’s soothing, soul-drenched drawls, echoed and distorted with impeccable frenzy, as if sparking through a glitched-out transmission from another planet.  Here, we are given immense heartbreak in zero-gravity, aching and tugging as we saunter within an intergalactic abyss, tying up loose ends and never turning back within a village of constellations.  “Like a circle just replayin’ what we had,” she emphatically coos, the production itself twirling, whirling, and spiraling with a narcotic breeze, coating all lingering anger and pain in a wondrous layer of frost and finality.  “I can’t keep goin’ round and round with you.”  Upon Hope’s stargazing space opera, there are no more possibilities for reconciliation, no points of return; though the wounds are still potent, she is fully prepared to release the fool she once loved in exchange for something greater and more alive.

At under three minutes, “Round and Round” is precisely what Pop is all about: a rush, a near-mirage, spinning and twisting so quickly that it is not unlike a magnetic dream abruptly ended.  With intricate touches of overflowing emotion and a slick slither of hip-hop cadence, it is an exercise in earworm classicism teetering off the edge of modernity, igniting a collision of epiphany and brutality – of forcing oneself to alter errors and take risks – that gives the loose, laconic track its incredible power.  Although there is no certainty of what glory and happiness may reach Hope once she has exited the union, it is the firm, inflexible knowledge and assurance that she deserves better that sticks and remains hardest.  No longer does she wish to waste time, no longer does she wish to regress; she can only, in her current frame of freedom and self-respect, envision going forward.  She can only, in her current frame of truth, envision change.

About Marsalis

poet of pop.
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