Longing for closeness meant something very different in February, when Raveena’s Moonstone EP was first released. Now, Raveena’s signature sensual sound elicits something familiar during a time when everything else is incomprehensible.
Attempts to make actual sense of what’s happening in the world feel misguided. Universalization feels dangerous when, despite the pandemic affecting everyone, those at the margins are disproportionately suffering. Sitting with the human cost of this every day is impossible.
Instead, people turn to what soothes, temporarily, like the tempo change midway through Raveena’s single “Headaches.” The word “balm” is used to describe art more often than ever — not a cure, but a careful treatment of what’s irritated. That’s what listening to Moonstone EP during the current moment brings. It briefly cuts through the fog to remind of a time when expressions of desire weren’t fraught with questions of what might pass through the air between us.
Particularly, the song “Close 2 U” has this effect. The track itself has a flow that mimics many on Raveena’s debut album Lucid, out last summer. The song tells a story of transition and hope for more time with a loved one. Hope for more time hits close to home during a time of collective grieving.
“I haven’t kissed you enough,” Raveena tells someone. “This is my last chance.”
The title and the message put “Close 2 U” into a category that feels appropriate now, added to a menu of songs that center a desire for the proximate. There’s Rihanna’s “Close To You,” ANTI’s vulnerable piano ballad. There’s Frank Ocean’s “Close To You,” which is a take on Stevie Wonder’s “Close To You,” which is a cover of the Carpenters “Close To You.”
The original song begins as an expression of pure wonder.
“Just like me,” the Carpenters (and Stevie) sing of the birds in the sky, “they long to be / close to you.”
These simple words bring to light what’s been swimming in the back (or front) of peoples’ minds: there’s nothing quite like witnessing a person you love just inches away. All of these songs, including Raveena’s, focus on what’s remembered after this person leaves. What is there to do with these memories of closeness?
Right now, memories of physical coming together stand in for the real thing while people make do with virtual space. Just like many who are facing solitude and loneliness, these songs hold onto what it feels like to be held. They soothe by expressing one of the many desires of the moment, but in a context, the past, that feels more manageable. Raveena and these artists speak to longing for a few more minutes, a few more days, with a lover. That’s a longing that feels a little more digestible than the type many are grappling with now.
Maybe everyone is too close to the current moment to see it for what it is. But expressions of what it was like to be “too close to you” — those are still there to be dug up and leaned on.
Listen to the “Close 2 U” mix on Spotify.
Header image by d.pika.