Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
When she wants to, here's betting that Gabrielle Aplin gives great hugs. She must put her all into them. She wants them to be felt clear into next year, even if she's giving them in March or May. They are to be lasting and they're to be memorable - embraces that take their time in going away. And when she wants to, we're sure she can shoot a look that takes away any of the sentiments that she could have meant to convey with those hugs.
The English songbird isn't going to give one for no reason and she's not going to keep giving them if they're not deserved or earned. Hers are straight from the heart and they travel into the deep tissue of the other's body. They are favorable to any others and they're rich with effect. They are debilitating and they are daunting because it's expected that they will be met halfway. They are not given just to be given. There must be a reason and they must be appreciated for what they mean. They mean the world. They are dense and they can force the blood to rush to your head, driving you woozy, making you the drunkard that you never thought you'd be. They should not be accepted lightly. They can be taken away.
She writes in a way that makes you believe that she's receptive to love and she's willing to sign on the dotted line, but she's been hurt too many times to do it without reading all of the fine print, without trying to feel what's buzzing in those muscles, in that blood and that skin that she's hugging against. She's trying to read, as best as she can, what she might be getting herself into. She's been a fool before and she's damned if she's going to get swallowed up by the feelings that have been her downfall too many other times. She's not immune to getting swept up though and that's where Aplin tries to hold her balance.
She curses that she's let herself fall for the same old tricks and she curses herself for not just letting go and succumbing once again, feeling that exhilaration that she knows is going to feel spectacular, just like all of those other times when it never let her down until the very end. It's always the endings that are to be most worried about - the ends of hugs, the ends of kisses, the ends of everything. That's when the frays are most apparent. That's when the lights pop on and everything's out in the open. That's the exact point when you recognize that someone might not be loving you back the same way that you're loving them. It's brutal.