Melbourne’s Better Half are back! Released last week, new single “Give Up On Me” is the first from the five piece since the release of their Maybe I Was Wrong EP last year. The single also comes with a music video directed and produced by Cian Marangos, who has also created visuals for bands such as Void Of Vision, Belle Haven, and The Gloom In The Corner.
It took some time for me to get into the groove of “Give Up On Me”, seeming to match its ‘Go ahead and leave me, everyone else does’ vibe. Strong riffs and a steady beat introduce the song before we hear the lamenting of Better Half’s vocalist Christopher Vernon; questioning how his well-being (or lack of) impacted his relationship(s). Softened instrumentally, the verses explore a tangle of experiences, trying to solve them… Kind of like a puzzle, hey?
The metaphor of a puzzle is a big part of “Give Up On Me”, and had myself and fellow Depth writer Andrew Cauchi musing over its use in the song and video. What’s it all mean? What does the puzzle represent?!
It’s clearly true that the completion (wholeness) of a puzzle (and person) is made impossible if others have taken pieces of it (of the self). Andrew and I felt that the identity factor here was a significant one, where someone shaped themselves for others and lost who they were in the process. This would also have the impact of the loss of that friend/lover/family member resulting in a loss of their identity too.
There’s also the imagery of a child (a kid C.V.) working on the puzzle in the video. Maybe this is the kid being represented in learning about who he is, and struggling with it. It also sparks the idea of how our adult selves and identities are the product of whichever pieces we’ve lost in our youth. Or maybe some missing pieces in our youth are only found many years later.
“In time, everyone will give up on me the way you first did.”
Overthinking about metaphors aside, “Give Up On Me” hits hardest at the chorus, when Better Half sonically share an “I don’t blame you” punch of frustration about the situation they’ve ended up in; feeling incomplete, lacking, damaged, empty.
Through the majority of the song, I feel a sense of out-of-body distance akin to watching yourself from afar. The protagonist plays observer to their own life, while not seeming able to do anything to retrieve the qualities they desire. It’s all they can do to lash out in question, angrily throwing “Do you feel anything at all?”, presumably in the direction of those who’ve had the impact.
With the puzzle abandoned, the ending doesn’t feel like a happy one. But rock out with Better Half anyway. Watch “Give Up On Me” via YouTube below, and hear it via your favourite streaming places.