The first lines of “Pain,” a new groundbreaking song from Convex (feat. Tyler Shamy), tell you right away that it’s unique. This song is deep, dark and addictive. How you understand pain personally will probably be the deciding factor in how much you like this new track. I, for one, am diving deep on it.
Building on the ingenuity of his other songs (like “Dainichi” and “Burning in Blue”), “Pain” moves quickly and frenetically, calling up images of the many ways pain can manifest itself. Between the swirling bands of bass and piano keys, the way the song loops in on itself as it progresses mirrors how real pain (whether it’s an addiction to a person, a substance, or a kind of experience) can feel really good, and yet still be a vicious cycle.
And the song, like the nature of pain, is unpredictable and can overwhelm you. Right off the bat, the opening grips you. Both lyrically melodically, Convex’s production shifts between traditional and experimental almost seamlessly while further illuminating the deeply personal vocal. And for me, that’s a huge plus. I also experienced this song in my own cycle of time, hearing it while it was still in development and also now, as it’s being released.
Maybe it’s coincidence that the song resonates with me both artistically and personally, but sometimes these things do happen. Because it’s now also mirrored my own life in a cyclical way. The first time I heard it, I was on vacation with my girlfriend’s family. I didn’t know it then, but I was processing a very high level of pain myself, triggered by being an afterthought to her very toxic family. Or as Shamy’s hauntingly resonant vocal confesses, I was feeling “too many things” and “weak, like I don’t belong.”
Now I am reflecting on “Pain,” after a breakup with her that was clearly foreshadowed by that vacation. What seemed like a healthy relationship then, was in retrospect, painfully destructive. It’s hard to deal with knowing my loneliness was actually an outgrowth of being around the wrong person or “in the wrong song.”
I wonder if this song tells a compelling story no matter how you relate to it? I think it does. What this track evokes is pretty universal and it calls up strong and specific feelings as it plays out. Ultimately though, I think it’s about people that are in situations where they’re being taken advantage of, emotionally or otherwise, and it can seem like the easiest and most comfortable thing to do is to stay “caught in the middle” as “Pain” describes. Would you rather settle for being taken advantage of for the feeling of connection that you get in return? Even if it means losing yourself in the process?
You’ll have to decide for yourself. But ultimately I think this song actually encourages the listener. In spite of knowing “too many things,” you can recognize that you’ve “gotten so used to the rain” and own the choices that you’re making. Even if you “enjoy the pain,” you can still let that pain go if you choose to, no matter how hard it is. You can know what you deserve.