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Dido, Give you up: Women love men. (2300 words)

Publié le par Kevin

Dido, Give you up: Women love men. (2300 words)

I’ve just discovered Dido’s recent song Give you up and I can’t help but write a little article about it because Dido’s lyrics regularly make me laugh and wonder whether she’s being serious or not. (I know it sounds condescending but actually it's not at all. I like Dido's music and lyrics, I just find them humorously ambiguous).

Just like movies and books, music can be “read” and interpreted. And I’m not only speaking about the lyrics here. Instrumentation itself means something. And nuances, contradictions and meaning can be found there too. I think my girlfriend once showed me a Nickelback video which gave a completely different meaning to the lyrics. An extremely morbid one. Anyway.

Here, I’d just like to talk about how Dido so often writes songs about girls talking about giving up on a worthless man they love, but aren’t truly convincing. I find that extremely funny and cute on one level…

…and depressing on another.

Take the great song The End of night. In that one, the girl clearly seems to have managed to leave the guy. She takes a distant look at their relationship to put the final nail in the coffin. Everything was negative and she’s glad she’s over all this.

But here’s the lyrics of the chorus:

"I feel nothing, When you cry, I hear nothing, See no need to reply, I can smile now, And turn away, Come over here, So you can see me walk away, And celebrate, The end of night (the end of night)."

So, when the song starts, it seems that their relationship has been over for some time. And the girl sounds really cold and distant. "I feel nothing when you cry," that’s harsh. She’s really over him. She’s so over him that she wants to make it clear by inviting him to witness her walk away from him. Sorry what ?

- Hey man. You know we totally broke up but can you pass by my place so I can tell you how much I’m over you and it’s finished and I don’t care how you feel about it ?

- Uuuh… okay ?

- And bring Champaign.

That's how the video clip represents this "End of night."

That's how the video clip represents this "End of night."

And so, really, Dido’s “I’m over you” songs, truly often sounds like the contrary in a very cute manner. In that they betray perfectly how much girls and women can love men A LOT and find it very hard to give up on one of them whom they've loved.

Sadly of course, most of these songs remain hate/blame songs on a surface level, which is problematic really. And what’s truly depressing, isn’t the fact that these love stories seem to always fail, but the seeming incapacity of all these girls to realize that it’s not because a relationship fails that the man is necessarily worthless. In 2020, it’s exhausting.

Anyway, going back to “Give you up.” Let’s have fun with these funny lyrics.

I'm not sitting with my head in my hands right now.

Right from the bat it’s clumsy. Three things make this statement sounds like we have to understand the opposite. The negation (combined with the rest), the right now and the irrelevance and specificity of the comment.

- Hey, how are you doing today John ?

- I didn’t watch pornography last night between 9pm and 10pm.

- Ho, ok. I sure don’t find this comment dubious in any way.

So, same thing with this “I’m not sitting with my head in my hands right now.” Either she is, or she is trying hard not to do it just for the sake of being able to say that she’s not doing it. One thing is certain, she is thinking of doing it, why ? Because she feels like it.

I don't care where you've been.

Of course she cares. Actually, if the guy cheated on her and she decided to leave him for that reason, it’s the fact that she cares that would give her the strength to leave him. So, this desire to pretend that “she doesn’t care” is morbid. She only wishes she didn’t care because she feels incapable of leaving him.  

No, I ain't watching the clock or getting my phone out.

Again, too many details. Of course, it suggests that she’s done it countless times and that not doing it anymore means it’s over.

The problem is that the need to describe this conveys a feeling of vexation and of rancor, a desire to trigger a reaction… and the feeling that she wants to watch the clock and get her phone out.   

I won't drink myself to sleep

That’s pretty dark.

So, beyond the fact that that poor woman doesn’t truly sound over her man, it seems that he actually doesn’t care about her. It makes a difference with him being an irresponsible, insensitive, asshole who treats her very badly but constantly tells her he loves her and wants her to stay. This "I won't drink myself to sleep" prevents the idea of a dilemma, of an ambiguity. She should leave him, and that's all. It doesn't look like he would try to hold her back... and it looks like that's the problem, he wouldn't hold her back.

You don't, you don't get under my skin no more.

Here, another pattern is becoming visible. In order to be able to ignore the idea that he truly doesn’t care about her, an idea that she cannot bear, this girl transforms the guy’s lack of interest into a desire to annoy her.

No, it's gone, it's gone.

She’s trying to convince herself that everything hurtful he does is actually meant to make her react. As if he toyed with her because he loves her. The final level of this madness is the idea that “he’ll start loving me when I’ll have convinced him that I do not care at all.”  

I ain't thinking 'bout you no more.

Obvious contradiction here, and obvious lie. But it's exactly what I was saying above, she's trying to convince him that she doesn't care in hope it makes him realize that he does.


I found a way to let you go.

Poor choice of word. “Let you go” means it’s his desire and choice. She’s not leaving him. She’s saying that she’s now ready to be left. That's the strongest "threat" she can fathom "guess what, if you leave me, I won't try to  make you stay. How about that ?!"

So you don't have to stay now.

Oh. Okay. So their relationship was based on charity ? He was forced to stay for reasons other than his love of her ? Was he indebted to her ? Or did she kidnap him ?

In reality, this is again just a way of being able to trust his love: "I've just asserted the fact that you don't have to stay, that nothing forces you to stay, that there's no obligation, therefore... if you stay... it means you do it because you want to be with me, because you love me."

A broken mind, I came close.

I actually think she’s gone crazy. We’ll see why in a minute.

But you can't rip my heart out.

This relationship really does not seem to have a positive impact on her. And she obviously is heartbroken.

I'm giving up, I'm giving up, I'll give you up.

The present progressive transforming into future is hilarious.

What is she giving up, if she isn’t giving him up ?

What is she giving up that doesn’t translate into immediately giving him up ?

I found a way to let you go.

What a strange formulation. Of course, we immediately forget about taking it literally. We understand that she means that she used to feel incapable of leaving him and now she does feel ready to do so and thus will.

Except that this spontaneous interpretation remains a stretch and there’s no obvious reason why we shouldn’t take it literally. So, she’s found a way to cope with him leaving her, if he feels like it.

It's gonna rip your heart out.

And here’s the final goal of this act. She wants the guy to get scared at the idea that she actually could cope with parting ways at some point. She’s convinced herself that the problem is that he takes her for granted and that if she manages to make him realize that she could leave him (that which she cannot), he will love her again.  


Got your picture covering up the cracks on the wall.

But the lines won't fade.

Didn't think that I would be missing you at all.

Maybe that was my mistake.

So she seems to already have left him, only to realize it was a mistake. What ? When is the story taking place ?


Nothing you say will change my mind.

You couldn't wait to leave me behind.

Nothing you say will change my mind.

You couldn't wait to leave me behind.

Nothing you say will change my mind.

You couldn't wait to leave me behind.

And here, this strange bridge. It seems that she left her boyfriend because she was convinced that he couldn’t wait to get rid of her. So what was the original problem ?

Ah, yes, he cheated on… wait… where was it said ? It’s never said. We only know that she’s miserable waiting for him and…


Although this song seems to be talking of a girl who left a guy who mistreated her, and about how it is a victory that she did so, really it’s just our misandrist prejudices that make us jump on this interpretation.

The truth is that all that we’ve got is a woman who clearly is in serious pain because of a man she loved. But we’re given no elements on how he hurt her, how he mistreated her, what happened, how their relationship started, how it failed etc etc…

All that we can derive from the lyrics is that the man wasn’t present enough for the girl’s taste and that it made her suffer a lot.

The problem is that we truly aren’t given any relevant detail about their relationship when there’s no reason why this girl shouldn’t explain why this guy was so detestable.


And so here’s my take.

There was nothing wrong.

We’re in 2020 and women are brainwashed into believing that men are never good enough, that any problem is an indicator that nothing can work. Any tension is the proof that he isn’t worthy. Any inappropriate joke or behaviour is just the indicator that nothing will ever work because this man's a man and men are worthless and noxious.

The consequence of the hate against men that is spread and expected from women, is that girls and women are becoming extremely anxious, suspicious and fearful of their men and of their relationships with them. And their love, this very strong overwhelming feeling that they feel in their hearts, now terrifies them.

The girl of the song had no reason to leave this guy. She was just terrified constantly for random reasons, because of a cultural conditioning, but she had nothing real to reproach him.

One extremely interesting apposition is “You don’t get under my skin no more […] I ain’t thinking about you no more.”

Both sentences are made synonymous. He used to get under her skin because she couldn’t help thinking of him… because she was in love with him.

What this girl is describing is being in love as something she cannot deal with, something negative that men inspire women. Love.

And so, when I said that she had gone crazy, it’s because the song mixes lines that infer that the relationship is present and others that makes it clear that it’s over.

I found a way to let you go is at the same time the reflections of a girl who feels trapped in a relationship, trapped by her love of a guy she thinks she should leave, and the ones of a girl who looks behind and states the obvious, she found a way to let her boyfriend go... but she is astonished at this fact, because it was an absurd initiative.


So… when I started this article, I only wanted to talk about how funny Dido’s songs can be in that many girls that she gives a voice to and who criticize their lovers, truly seem to remain deeply in love with them. And it’s cute.

But here, it’s even more worrying because the girl truly sounds schizophrenic and we can guess what drove her crazy: She found a way to let her boyfriend go.

She had no reason to do so but she managed to let him go, and it drove her crazy.

The destruction of the time dimension is a very nice idea. The girl is stuck in a loop around the present/past idea that she found a way to let him go, because her life revolved and still revolves around him, and still she found a way to let him go when she had no reason to leave him. Yes, it’s absurd. That’s my point, and that’s what drove her crazy.

And that’s exactly the situation we’re in today. Women are brought to hate and despise men, even though they love them with all their hearts and would do anything for them. Simply, a very powerful and very evil entity is bringing women to mistake their love with negative things, dependence, weakness, submission, lack of intelligence, lack of ambition. Women are disoriented.

And I must say, I love this interpretation, it works incredibly well. The poor loving girl who was brought to make a horrible mistake.

Nothing you say will change my mind.

You couldn't wait to leave me behind.

What if he actually didn't see anything coming ? What if everything was fine and he didn't realize his girlfriend was actually becoming crazy ?