“Candy May, I think I’m dyin’. Yeah cause I’m frail and I’m tried and I constantly complain about the pain I’m in.”
The opening line of Alex Cameron’s troubled ode to love and all its faults reflects the metaphorical double-edged blade that we play with when we render ourselves vulnerable to another. ‘Candy May’ is the newest piece of music from the globetrotting synth-lounge Romeo, which places Al Cam in the grip of self-doubt, beset by ailments real and/or imagined. His confidant – the aforementioned Candy May – might actually be the root cause of his woebegone state as the instigator of a serious case of the blues.
Like an alcoholic, Alex Cameron croons over a moody, synth-heavy accompaniment about being in the thick of an addiction, but isn’t truly cognisant of the toll it’s taking on him. His addiction is the kind of love that everyone seeks and also avoids – that all or nothing, bet-it-all, come away with everything or leave with nothing sort of love. The kind of lovin’ that gives you the shakes – whether it’s from intimacy withdrawals, ecstasy aftershocks, sun-eclipsing, post-conflict rage, or whatever else – it’s that kind of unsettling feeling that makes you unsure if continued exposure is the cure or the cause. Loving Candy May is like the hair of the dog, the pill that calms your nerves and steadies hands. How much is it helping? Candy May’s love is ophidian – it coils and constricts until the air you breathe is granted only by the one with the grip around your heart.
Much like anyone in the midst of a deep-seated dependency, Alex Cameron doesn’t quite comprehend the situation he is in. He’s in denial – no doubt about it. He’s got Stockholm Syndrome, assuredly. You won’t hear him admit it though. Case in point:
“Candy May, I know she loves me in her own true way.
You’ll call it as you see it; you think you know the score,
but you’ve just never had a girl like Candy May before.”
He wants to assure us he’s happy, even if it doesn’t look like it from our point of view. Perhaps Candy isn’t entirely to blame – it takes two to tango and if the clip to this song is any indication Alex Cameron’s got a few moves of his own. Fire spreads especially quicker when two people are contributing their own emotional kindling. Maybe it will all work out. Maybe it won’t. Alex Cameron has never been shy about rolling the dice, but this time he might lose more than just the shirt on his back.
This song features sublime horns by Al’s business partner and collaborator Roy Molloy as well as production work from Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado and backing vocals from Angel Olsen. This is the first glimpse at Al’s new record Forced Witness, which will be out in September. I can’t wait to see what other messes Alex has got himself into this time around.
Banner image: Cara Robbins