Syd’s “Sweet” – Yellow Diamonds Lyrics Breakdown – VIBE.com
Cynicism is a growing phenomenon in music. Real love songs are hard to find these days. Named after Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Yellow Diamonds is a lyric series in which VIBE editor Austin Williams celebrates songs that sound like love found in a hopeless mainstream.
The things we choose to do and not to do largely define the life we live. On “Sweet,” a recently released Syd’s track broken hearts club, the 29-year-old lives up to that principle of prioritization by forgoing nights on the town in pursuit of love. In love myself for a few years, I also had to sacrifice small pleasures for something more fulfilling. This militant mindset has served me so well in my relationship that it has spilled over into almost everything I do.
The most rewarding parts of my life are the results of how I prioritize my time. Like most fit people, I don’t have to chase a summer body in the spring because I don’t mind getting up at 5 a.m. to train in the winter. Like most productive people, I think meetings are often time wasters that slow the progress of the work the employees are actually hired to do. And, having once again weighed the pros of the choice, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve left my girlfriend at home while I partied with my friends.
Thus, while Syd broken hearts club contains more catchy tunes, what stood out to me the most about the singer’s second solo album is “Sweet”, a song about the discipline of love and the importance of how people spend their time. Throughout the track, the Odd Future pioneer and internet singer puts her partner above the distractions that often come with running through the streets.
Atop an angelic production, and with a soft but serious tone in her voice, Syd declares, “No more game, no more clubbin’, no more fronting, baby / Nothing but sweet, sweet, sweet love, baby.”
Similar to most value systems we adopt as we age, prioritizing love over the lesser pleasures of life is not something that comes naturally. It is a learned behavior. At least for people like me, and apparently for people like Syd as well.
What I find most resonant in the vanity of the song’s chorus, that nothing matters more than the love of one’s partner, is how each verse builds toward that realization. Reflective moments throughout the track indicate that there was a time when Syd, whether in real life or in the life of the character she voices in “Sweet,” didn’t always give her relationship l attention it deserved. Every disciplined person I know can identify with this kind of maturation.
Many health freaks were once people with poor diets and little motivation. Journalism’s most prolific writers have learned the hard way to be selective with how many hours of non-writing they allow to clutter their schedules. And most homebody husbands, which I would be happy to become, were once club-bound singles who couldn’t imagine being anywhere else on a Saturday night.
The lyrics to “Sweet,” written in part by a queer singer-songwriter whose lived experience is undoubtedly vastly different from mine, seem surprisingly aligned with that ambition.
Ask me how do I know it’s love
‘Cause it gotta be, gotta be, baby
Oh yeah, yeah-yeah
Given over me from above
This is what I’ve been waiting for, waiting for, baby
So I can’t fuck it all up
I can’t fuck it all up
‘Cause they wanna see us fail (Ooh)
So I can’t give it up
I do not give up
Because you mean too much to me
The rewards of making the right choices in life often come with the reality that making the wrong choices could undo everything you’ve built. There is a certain inherent pressure to prioritize love. Essentially, the unwritten contract you signed with your partner that you would always be true to them now has an amendment that says you must be true to yourself as well. It’s the flip side of the adage that “if you knew better, you’d do better”. It’s not always easy to apply the things we learn once we’ve learned them.
This pressure is subtly referenced in the first verse of “Sweet.” Halfway through, Syd refers to his wife’s love as a gift “from above”. Towards the end, she confesses her fear of fucking this blessing.
While most of the ways a person could ruin their relationship are internally regulated – dealing with certain impulses, being aware of the situations we put ourselves in, etc. – these behaviors are responses to external stimuli. Seeing your single friends much less than before, distancing yourself from people who are a little too flirty despite what flirting does for your ego, and avoiding the influences of nightlife are aspects of romantic maturity that are as difficult as rewarding.
With this challenge comes a slight worry that you may not be up to it. The only thing that could ease that anxiety is the kind of resolve Syd displays in the last lines of verse one: “I don’t give up / Because you mean too much to me.”
I didn’t know what I was running from (running from)
But life is better now, better now, baby (Baby, baby)
Oh yeah (Oh yeah, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh)
Every day I’m more in love (More in love, ooh)
Now what is it, what is it, baby (baby)
Ooh, ooh, yeah, yeah, yeah
Verse two of “Sweet” takes us back to a place of reflection. While Syd admits she doesn’t know what she was running from, but was actually running from something, she acknowledges how much better her life is now that love has finally caught up with her. It speaks to the most disorienting part of growing up, which is not being able to remember what was in sight when your prospect was smaller. It’s a question people keep coming back to even after that prospect has been in their rearview mirror for a long time.
What exactly are singles (and secretly cuffed people) looking for when they’re in the club weekend after weekend? It certainly can’t be love, since that’s not where most others find it. Maybe ease is what they are looking for. The way his bed is more comfortable than the gym, and the camaraderie in meetings provides respite from the loneliness of work, the constant clubbing saves us from having to improve parts of ourselves that may be lacking.
Either way, there is a snowball effect that happens once you determine the most beneficial use of your time. Each day is better than the last because you live and love now with intention.
No more player‘, No more club bin‘, No more before‘, baby
Nothing‘but sweet, sweet, sweet to like‘, baby
Don’t need jewelry, don’t need money, don’t need nothing‘, baby
Nothing‘but sweet, sweet, sweet to like‘, baby
The way it’s sung and produced, “Sweet” contains an appropriate sense of euphoria, as each verse leads to the eureka moment in the song’s chorus. Still, it’s worth noting that living the song’s message, that some things simply matter more than others, often leads to friction in real life.
I’ve had heated disagreements with people who don’t understand the power of prioritization and even worse conflicts with those who recklessly prioritize their time. A few friends have stopped inviting me because of the time I come home early to get up in the morning to go to the gym. Managers became frustrated with my insistence that talking about work in meetings is much less critical than the time needed to To do said work in practice. And the women who still frequent the same clubs I met them at assumed that my current relationship was a temporary phase rather than a permanent life change.
But like the devotion Syd details in “Sweet” and the romantic rewards it brings her, there’s a consistency to my life that can’t be disputed. The proof is in the result. There isn’t a friend, colleague, or ex-friend on earth who could talk me out of the way I prioritized. Because I’ve created a life that’s too healthy, too productive, and filled with too much love to allow what’s important to others to come before what’s important to me.