Honey and Smoke (ing Hot) @kdlang

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 k.d. lang is awesome at singing songs about love; especially love that is not quite fulfilled. Truly, it is one of her better talents. Not only the smooth and creamy vocals we have come to expect, but the sultry emotion that k.d. is able to make leap out of the mic and into our veins.

“Honey and Smoke” is no different in this regard, but I argue it’s better than what we have heard in some time. This may not be her ultimate tune for philosophical analysis, but with this level of sexy…who cares?

However, if I were to try and say something profound about this song, here is what I might say:

Honey and Smoke harkens back a bit to Invincible Summer in that it has a 1960’s lounge music tenor. Case and Veirs lend the perfect back up vocals for a playful and flimsy feel. And at first, all seems great in the world. But right  a way we hear from a saddened yet wise  voice whose patience is unfettered and seemingly composed enough to wait for the long haul.

She watches. How many of us have watched from afar with what we deem to be a clear picture of what is really going on?

The question at stake, if there is one, is whether or not k.d. is delusional.  Is she correct that “they don’t really love you like I do”. After all, it is not possible to experience anyone else’s inner life; to know what it is like to be someone else. But the rub is the exceptional clarity k.d. convincingly views the situation with. Lyrics do not do this sense of “knowing” justice. One has to hear k.d. sing it. And this intangible “something” has become the classic k.d. signature sine qua non that we love.

I know that in the past  I have tried to analyze why k.d.’s voice is so astounding. But with “Honey and Smoke” we get another clue. It has to do with k.d’s ability to seem so sure about things that are completely unknowable. She is so sure she is in love. She basks in the luminescence of this inner knowledge. We all get that she cannot possibly know this. But we believe that she does; and it is the listener’s belief that allows an interaction with k.d. most artists can’t make happen with their audience. One could say that k.d. “robs us of our social graces” with this aptitude. And in this case, it may explain why we all go nuts hearing “Honey and Smoke”.

 

“Honey And Smoke”
(with Laura Veirs & Neko Case)

I watch as they dance with you
I watch as they sing to you
I watch as they pour honey in your earLike moths, with their tattered wings, swing back
Into your flame again, but dear
Can’t you see, there’s nothing for you here’Cause I know, it’s all honey and smoke
They don’t really love you like I doUnaware of just how beautiful you are from within
Uncontainable, exquisite to the detail
Hypnotizes people, robs them of their social graces
Swarming to your glow, burning you with razorsI know, it’s all honey and smoke
They don’t really love you like I do

And I know, it’s all honey and smoke
They don’t really love you like I do

I watch as they sing to you
I watch as they dance with you
I watch as they pour honey in your ear

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