Rentboy’s Cherry is somehow a laid back and extremely tense abstraction of
dissociation. The atmosphere created by the instrumentation is repetitive in a way that’s reminiscent of ambient music. Structurally, the song is kind of all over the place. A four line stanza of verse here, a possible bridge with an 80s synth chime there, all over an the off kilter stutter of the songs rhythmic core, a 15/8 time signature. This feeling of sparse collage is mirrored in the lyrics. In what reads as a pre-chorus (which is followed by a verse), the lead vocal moves from its low crooning to a slightly sarcastic and apathetic tone, making the lyrics “The guts spill out like cherries/It’s not like in the
movies” a standout of the song.
Throughout the single, the vocalist cooly expresses a confused disappointment with existence in general. The lyrics clearly convey the image of dissociation and an intense disconnection with the body, the (possible) chorus, a dismissive muttering of the word “body”. The songs end is a blunt cut, a slightly unsettling moving on from the tension instilled in the ambient qualities throughout the song.
The music video for the song is a surprisingly charming vignette of absurdity, a two stepping pair of heels in fake grass framed by inscrutable knick knacks and the crushing of fruits-a well fit companion for the song.
Overall, Cherry is a well written and interesting song, but this handling of tension doesn’t lend itself to pull listeners into it, leaving it as more of a “vibe” song than an admitting of existential dissonance. Maybe that is meant to display the lack of solution to the speaker’s feelings- and that definitely carries-but it might have helped to have the song view itself from different angles, giving it more of a sense of a life of its own.