Posted in Artists

Cigarettes After Sex | Universal Music of Love

I know that you say I get mean when I’m drinking
But then again sometimes I get really sweet
So what does it mean if I tell you to go fuck yourself
Or if I say that you’re beautiful to me
It’s affection, always
You’re gonna see it someday
My attention’s on you
Even if it’s not what you need

Cheryl Strayed is the author of a wonderful novel by the name Wild. It is an autobiography of her struggles to cope with a personal tragedy, leading to drug and sexual addiction and finally the discovery of the healing powers in wild nature. It was converted into a widely acclaimed motion picture by the same name, starring Reese Witherspoon.

Cheryl had named herself Strayed after her divorce with her long time husband. It was her choice of surname symbolising how she felt. Strayed. Like a stray dog on the street. She was the one to say those words you read at the top of this post. Someone strayed physically by her family, emotionally by her dead mother, mentally by the drugs she was addicted to and spiritually by the loss of faith in the world- spoke of how the innermost voice was still universally recognisable. That it could say things that were worthy of pulsating across the universal nerves.

It was incredible amounts of pain, that brought out her innermost voice, the universal voice. Pain being the dark well, at the bottom of which lies Veritas, the Roman Goddess of truth, the innermost voice that reverberates universally. We have heard of her in legends like the Frog Princess where the Frog, who helps the Princess realise her truth and come of age, lies at the bottom of the dark well. The elusive goddess of Truth chooses the dark corners to hide herself into. The darkness is her abode.

The music of Cigarettes After Sex has both the darkness and the pain. No wonder the music pierces through to the heart, via the ears as well as the goosebumps on the flesh. No wonder it only takes the listener to hear the song once and get addicted to it immediately. The YouTube success of their singles, with millions of views, can probably be explained by these two attributes.

Title Image for C.A.S single Affection, Photography by Man Ray

Cigarettes After Sex pierces like the sword of truth does. It hurts at first, and you bleed, but then you are at peace with the truth. Savouring in it.

Music has memories

Music has memories associated to it. A long lost melody sweeps us off of our feet and back into time. But there are some kinds of music that take you back into time even when you had never heard of the music. They take you back with their truth and their universal voice, to a time where you relate to what the voice has to say to you. This is when you begin sharing the same dimension as the musician, the composer, the creator of the art you are consuming. You become one with the artist.

Sometimes we talk all night long, we don’t shut up
And when it’s late we’ll say we’re still wide awake so…
We love to talk about how you’ll come up to visit me
And we’ll rent a car and we’ll drive upstate
It’s affection, always
You’re gonna see it someday
My attention’s on you
Even if it’s not what you need

I think of you, I want you too, I’d fall for you
I think of you, I want you too, I’d fall for you


Cigarettes After Sex is the labour of love of Greg Gonzalez and his friends. The band is particularly famous on YouTube not just for the die hard romance essentially but also for their androgynous vocals. You cannot particularly differentiate if it is a woman or a man singing the ballads for their beloved. And this is what makes it all the more universal in its appeal. It is a tribute to love in a very pure form. You could sing it to your boyfriend or your girlfriend, best friend, mother, pet dog or cat or anything/anyone that you have felt a soul churning  love for. The kind of love that hurts but soothes at the same time.

Music is a beautiful medium of storytelling. And I love to feature music that talks right to the listener, like a letter or a story in narration. Do let me know what you think of their music and the particular noir nature of the music. And share widely the music of die hard romance.

Do follow the blog and let me know about other music you would like me to listen to and respond to. I post in new stories every Mondays and Thursdays. (Sometimes a day late, because I am lazy and indisciplined! :P)

(Cover Image – Photo by Stoned Storyteller. Song lyrics – Affection, by Cigarettes After Sex, written by Greg Gonzalez.)



3 thoughts on “Cigarettes After Sex | Universal Music of Love

  1. Such a coincidence!
    I was just listening to the song ‘Affection’ by them, as suggested by you and then I opened your blog, the latest post is about it and the band.
    I didn’t quite ‘absorb’ the essence of their music but your post has certainly got me into it.
    Their songs should have been in the movie ‘Wild’, especially when she struggles with addiction and abuse. Btw..I loved the soundtrack of ‘Wild’.
    You must have listened to ‘El Codor Pasa’ by Simon and Garfunkel. Write about it, maybe I’ll get new perspectives to listen to the song!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Serid! I too would love to have this song featured in the movie Wild.Both of them are my all time favourite pieces of creative art. It was a personal cathartic experience to watch the film Wild. I am glad you found a new perspective on their music. And, yep, I been listening to music by Simon and Garfunkel. Hoping to write soon about them as well.


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